Notable New State Laws Effective July 1, 2024

Published on
06/27/2024
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Most laws that were passed by the General Assembly during the 2024 legislative session take effect in Virginia on Monday, July 1. A few are highlighted below with links that provide additional details.

 

Local Authority for Speed Limits 

This new law clarifies that Fairfax County, and other counties that do not maintain their own roads, are allowed to reduce speed limits to less than 25 miles per hour, but not less than 15 miles per hour, in business or residential districts.  Localities will also be allowed to restore a speed limit that was previously reduced. HB 1071 

This was a Fairfax County initiative.

 

Deadlines to Certify Election Results

This extends the deadline for local Offices of Elections to submit a locality’s election results from seven days to 10 days, allowing local offices the time needed to ensure all ballots are properly counted, results are certified and abstracts are submitted in a timely manner. HB 998

This was a Fairfax County initiative. 

 

Access to Polling Places 

New legislation clarifies that individuals with a disability (not just a physical disability) can vote curbside. The new law will also require training for poll workers on disability access. HB 441/SB 605

Additional legislation requires local registrars to post information at the previous location when a polling place location changes, including information about how to find the new location to assist any voter who is unaware of the change. HB 940

Another new law requires that notice of a change in election district, precinct or polling place be mailed to all registered voters at least 30 days prior to the next election (current law requires a mailing at least 15 days prior). HB 1003

 

Transportation Safety

This new law creates a traffic infraction for any moving violation in a highway work zone. A fine of up to $300 would be assessed for a first offense, with the fine increasing to up to $500 for a second offense. If a subsequent offense occurs within a 12-month period, the fine would be a minimum of $750. HB 282

 

Shared Solar 

This new law expands Virginia’s shared solar program (applicable to Dominion Energy) by raising the program capacity by up to 150 megawatts. This also requires the State Corporation Commission to recalculate the minimum bill assessed to program subscribers to cover the costs of distribution and transmission services. HB 106/SB 253

 

Emissions Inspections 

This new law increases the amount an emissions inspection program coordinator can be paid every year for each station from $3,500 to $5,000, and also increases the maximum amount that may be charged for the emissions inspection fee from $28 to $30. HB 213/SB 453

 

Firearms 

New legislation bans “auto sears,” which are devices that can convert a semiautomatic firearm into a fully automatic weapon that is able to rapidly fire a full magazine of bullets. HB 22/SB 210  

Additional legislation prohibits the removal or alteration of serial numbers on any firearm, except antique firearms. SB 363

 

Opioids 

This new law directs the Virginia Board of Education to establish guidelines related to school-connected overdoses and parental notification. SB 498

 

Towing 

Several new laws related to towing will go into effect July 1. One prohibits tow truck drivers from arriving at the scene of a wrecked or disabled vehicle after a law enforcement tow has been initiated, soliciting/offering towing services and undertaking the actual towing of the vehicle. HB 1073

Additional legislation prohibits tow truck drivers and towing and recovery operators from causing any other person to solicit or offer towing services at the scene of a wrecked or disabled motor vehicle requiring a tow. SB 94 

Another authorizes localities in Planning Districts 8 (Northern Virginia) and 16 to require written authorization from the property owner from which the vehicle is towed and changes the penalty for certain trespass towing offenses in Planning District 8 from $150 per violation to 10 times the total amount charged for the removal, towing and storage. SB 94 

Other legislation clarifies that localities in Planning District 8 are allowed to require a permit for companies when the location of the tow and the storage site are in the same locality. HB 1287  

Another new law requires a towing operator to notify a resident of a multifamily dwelling unit at least 48 hours prior to towing their vehicle as a result of an expired registration or inspection sticker. HB 925

New regulations also prohibit towing operators from requiring an individual that appears to retrieve a vehicle to provide any document not otherwise required by law. HB 925

 

Behavioral Health 

This new law allows a family member or legal guardian to be present when a person is undergoing evaluation for an emergency custody order or temporary detention order unless the family member or legal guardian is considered to pose a medical, clinical or safety risk. HB 1242/SB 546

 

Manufactured Housing

This new law provides for $5,000 in relocation expenses to the owner of a manufactured home if their rental agreement is terminated because the manufactured home park is sold to a buyer that is going to redevelop the park and change its use. HB 1397

 

Historic Preservation

This provides for a 30-day delay before a permit may be issued to raze or demolish any structure that is a historic landmark, building or structure. HB 1395

 

Electronic Meetings 

Several new laws related to electronic meetings and Virginia Freedom of Information Act (VFOIA) requirements will go into effect July 1. One validates otherwise lawful actions taken by a public body using electronic communication means occurring from March 20, 2020, until July 1, 2021, with respect to VFOIA if the body provided public notice, public access and public comment commensurate with the requirements of existing VFOIA provisions regarding electronic and closed meetings. HB 816/SB 244

Another amends the definition of a meeting under VFOIA to clarify that a gathering of two or more members of a public body is not a meeting if there is no discussion or transaction of any public business by the members. HB 818/SB 36

Additional legislation adds people with disabilities and caregivers to the list of those who can participate remotely in public meetings, including for the purpose of establishing a quorum. Current law allows remote participation but does not allow remote participants to satisfy quorum requirements. HB 1040/SB 85

Another increases the number of all-virtual public meetings that certain public bodies may convene in a calendar year from no more than two or 25 percent of the meetings held in a year to no more than two or 50 percent of the meetings held in a year, whichever is greater. This new law does not apply to local governing bodies, local school boards, planning commissions, architectural review boards, zoning appeals boards or boards with authority to deny, revoke or suspend a professional or occupational license. HB 894/SB 734

 

Surveillance Technology 

This new law requires all state and local law enforcement agencies and sheriff’s departments to provide a list of surveillance technologies procured by the agencies and departments on an annual basis to the Department of Criminal Justice Services. HB 1496

 

Local Government Notices 

New legislation standardizes the frequency and length of time required for public notices of certain meetings, hearings and other intended actions of local governments. Additional legislation allows any ordinance, resolution, notice or advertisement that is required to be published in a newspaper to be published in an online-only news publication instead. HB 1488/SB 413, HB 264/SB 157

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