Notable New State Laws Effective July 1, 2021

Posted on
07/01/2021
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Several new laws are in effect in Virginia and in Fairfax County beginning today, July 1. We’ve highlighted a few for you to be aware of (with Virginia House or Senate bill numbers in parentheses if you want to look up more details).

TRANSPORTATION 

  • Drivers are required to change lanes when overtaking a bicycle or certain other vehicles when the travel lane is not wide enough to pass by at least 3 feet to the left. The limitations on riding bicycles and certain other vehicles two abreast is removed. (HB 2262)
  • Larger localities can adapt local parking requirements or ratios in comprehensive plan reviews when transit-oriented development is promoted. (HB 2054)

CLUTTER REMOVAL

Localities can require the removal of clutter from property, or have it removed, charging the property owner for the removal. “Clutter” may include mechanical equipment, household furniture, containers, and similar items that may be detrimental to the well-being of a community when they are left in public view for an extended period or are allowed to accumulate. (HB 1778)

EDUCATION 

Requirements and guidelines outlined for virtual and in-person learning for public elementary and secondary schools, early childhood care and education programs. Mitigation strategies addressed to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (SB 1303)

CLEAN ENERGY

Localities can establish green banks to promote investment and financing for clean energy technologies, including renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. (HB 1919)

MARIJUANA AND OPIOIDS

  • Home cultivation and legal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana authorized. (HB 2312/SB 1406) 
  • The Opioid Abatement Authority will ensure that funds from lawsuits against opioid makers and distributors are used to support addiction prevention and treatment. (HB 2322/SB 1469)

FIREARMS

A person who has been convicted of assault and battery of a family or household member is prohibited from purchasing, possessing or transporting a firearm. (HB 1992) 

ABSENTEE VOTING AND ELECTIONS

New legislation (HB 1888 and SB 1245) makes several changes to voting processes, including:

  • Absentee ballot processing procedures.
  • Drop-off locations for absentee ballots.
  • Voters can fix any potential errors on their absentee ballot envelopes.
  • Voting technologies and procedures to assist visually impaired voters casting their ballots independently and remotely.  

Additional legislation permits:

  • The option of in-person absentee voting on Sundays. (HB 1968)
  • Curbside voting for voters with a permanent physical disability, temporary physical disability or injury, and any voter during a declared state of emergency related to a communicable disease of public health threat. (HB 1921)  
  • Changing the date of the June primary from the second Tuesday in June to the third. (SB 1148) 

SOCIAL SERVICES

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients can satisfy or earn exemptions from work and training requirements if they are enrolled in postsecondary education. (HB 1820)
  • The state-funded Kinship Guardianship Assistance program facilitates child placements with relatives, including fictive kin, to ensure permanency for children. (SB 1328)
  • Local departments of social services and licensed child-placing agencies are required to involve the child’s relatives and fictive kin in the development of a child’s foster care plan. (HB 1962)

ALL STATE LAWS

Get an overview of all new state laws:

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