At the beginning of this year, the Virginia Governor, Glenn Youngkin, signed many bills for new state laws that would take effect throughout the year, many of which are set to go into effect in July. The laws all cover a wide range of areas, but few are extremely life-altering laws. Because the state is very heavily divided between Democrats and Republicans, neither party was able to pass any extreme laws, but there still are several with strong significance.
A New Law Setting Restrictions on Hemp Products
For quite some time, Youngkin has been pushing for a law like this to come to his desk. Hemp products have previously been lacking in restrictions, which has allowed products containing THC to be sold as accessible as in gas stations. The law limits the amount of THC that is allowed to be in these products.
Age Verification Online
The new law in Virginia sets an age restriction requirement for certain online domains. Any website with material that is harmful to minors must establish a verification system in which they verify a user is 18 years or older before giving access to the site. If they fail to do so, they open themselves up to lawsuits as they would be “knowingly or intentionally publishing or distributing on the Internet material harmful to minors.”
An Expansion to the “Move Over” Law
The current move over law requires drivers to move lanes or slow down whenever there are emergency vehicles. The expansion that will take effect as of July 1st will require vehicles on a four-lane highway to move over or slow down, when safe to do so, when there are vehicles on the shoulder with their hazard lights on or displaying any sign of danger/caution.
Allowing Police Order Curfews
This new Virginia law allows local law enforcement to impose curfews that last up to 24 hours if they believe there is an imminent threat of “civil commotion or disturbance.”
Fake 911 Punishments
Virginia will also now have a law that criminalizes falsified 911 calls. The crime has been identified as a class 1 misdemeanor. This could result in up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. However, there are harsher punishments if the fake call results in harm to others. If someone gets hurt during the response to the call, then the caller could be charged with a class 6 felony and be sentenced to up to five years in prison. If someone is killed during the emergency response, the caller could receive a sentencing of up to ten years in prison for a class 5 felony.
These laws are just a few of the new ones coming to Virginia as of July 1st. There are more than ten new laws coming to the state.