Virginians to be impacted by new laws now in effect

Free Press wire reports | 7/11/2017, 8:50 a.m.
New state laws went into effect Saturday, July 1, that could impact how Virginians drive, what kind of alcohol they ...

New state laws went into effect Saturday, July 1, that could impact how Virginians drive, what kind of alcohol they buy and what they wear when they go hunting.

The 2017 legislative session lacked any landmark compromises between the Republican-controlled General Assembly and Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Instead, lawmakers focused on adjusting the state budget to give public employees raises, particularly law enforcement officials.

Still, new laws could affect Virginians’ daily lives in ways big and small. Here’s a sampling:

Driving too slow in left lane

Driving in the left lane on state highways without a good reason could now result in a $100 fine. The bill’s sponsor, Delegate Israel O’Quinn of Bristol said he wants to prevent people from driving too slow in the left lane, which he said endangers law enforcement and spurs road rage.

Opioid crisis

The opioid crisis gripping Virginia’s neighbors has made its way into the Old Dominion, and lawmakers made addressing the rising number of overdose deaths a priority, passing laws that allow for a needle-exchange program and help new mothers addicted to opioids to more easily get treatment.


State-owned liquor stores now are able to sell a high-proof grain alcohol that is “without distinctive character, aroma, taste or color,” which includes the well-known brand Everclear. University officials had voiced concern about binge drinking, but proponents of the law noted that Everclear can be purchased legally in most other states and is often used in cooking.

Female genital mutilation

State law now makes it illegal to perform a female genital mutilation, or for a parent or guardian to consent to one for their daughter. Genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision or cutting, has been condemned by the United Nations and outlawed in many parts of the world. But the practice is common for girls in parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Driver’s license revocation Adults convicted of possessing marijuana will no longer automatically have their driver’s license suspended for six months, but instead be required to perform 50 hours of community service.

Blaze pink

Hunters no longer are required to wear blaze orange, but can instead wear blaze pink if they so prefer. The new law is designed to encourage more women to hunt.

Dogs and cats

Cities and counties can now offer lifetime pet licenses, which cannot cost more than $50.

Hair removal regulations

Laser hair removal now will have to be performed by a medical practitioner or someone trained and supervised by one, unless people do it at home with their own equipment. The law’s sponsor said the legislation was prompted by a constituent who said a janitor was removing hair at a spa.

Scalpers’ rights

Delegate David Albo of Fairfax County, a self-described “metal head,” said he sponsored the Ticket Resale Rights Act after he bought tickets for an Iron Maiden show, then couldn’t attend and wasn’t able to resell them. The law prohibits ticket sellers from using systems that prevents purchasers from lawfully reselling tickets on the internet platform of their choice. It also prohibits individuals from being denied admission because they purchased a second-hand ticket.