Notable New State Laws Effective July 1, 2020

Virginia flag waving in the wind.

Several new laws are in effect in Virginia and in Fairfax County on Wednesday, 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).

1. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Protections

This new law prohibits discrimination in public and private employment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and codifies for state and local government employment the current prohibitions on discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability or status as a veteran. (SB 868)

2. Pedestrian Safety

The new law requires drivers to stop (not just yield) to pedestrians in marked and unmarked crosswalks until the pedestrian has cleared the lane. This includes all lanes and both directions at clearly marked crosswalks; any regular pedestrian crossing (such as residential intersections) even if unmarked; or at any intersection where the maximum speed limit is not more than 35 miles per hour. (HB 1705)

3. Firearms

Several new laws pertaining to firearms take effect July 1. These include:

  • Allowing localities to regulate firearms in government buildings, parks, recreation centers and at permitted events.  (HB 421/SB 35)
  • Requiring background checks for any firearm sale. (HB 2/SB 70)
  • Requiring any loss or theft of a firearm to be reported within 48 hours. (HB 9)
  • Changing the charge to a Class 1 misdemeanor for endangering children under 14 by a leaving loaded, unsecured firearm in their presence.  (HB 1083)
  • Prohibiting the purchase of more than one handgun in a 30-day period by any person who is not a licensed firearms dealer.  (HB 812/SB 69)
  • Allowing attorneys and law enforcement officers to apply for emergency orders to prohibit a person who poses a substantial risk of injury to himself or others from purchasing, possessing or transporting a firearm.  (HB 674/SB 240)

4. Absentee Voting

No-excuse absentee voting is allowed for the entire 45-day absentee voting period, including both in-person and by-mail voting. (HB 1/SB 111)

5. Solar Freedom

Fairfax County can move forward with a large solar array on the closed I-95 landfill site, crediting excess generation from that facility to other county electricity accounts serviced by the same incumbent electricity provider. (HB 572/SB 710/HB 1184)

6. Marijuana Decriminalization

This new law decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana and directs executive branch secretaries to convene a workgroup to study marijuana legalization with a report due by Nov. 30, 2020. (HB 972/SB 2)

7. Administering Naloxone

A person who is not otherwise authorized to administer naloxone is allowed do so in good faith to a person who is believed to be experiencing or about to experience a life-threatening opioid overdose. (SB 566)

8. Confederate Monuments

Localities are permitted to remove, relocate, contextualize or cover any monument or memorial to war veterans on the locality’s public property, not including a monument or memorial located in a publicly owned cemetery, regardless of when the monument or memorial was erected.  (HB 1537/SB 183)

9. Towing

The new law raises the additional fee that can be charged for towing a vehicle at night, on weekends or on a holiday from $25 to $30. (HB 1511/SB 916)

Overview of All State Laws

Get an overview of all new state laws:

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