Virginia laws going into effect Jan. 1, 2022

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RICHMOND, V.A. (WRIC) – Virginia is entering a new year and with that new year comes new laws.

Many of the laws passed by the General Assembly and approved by Gov. Ralph Northam in 2021 have already gone into effect, but some don’t start until New Year’s Day.

Here is a list of some of Virginia’s new laws going into effect as of New Year’s Day:

Increase in motor vehicle liability insurance coverage amounts: SB 1182

Starting in 2022, motor vehicle liability insurance will cover more in cases of bodily injury or death of a person. The increase will apply to policies effective between Jan. 1 of this year, and Jan. 1, 2025. Liability insurance will now cover $30,000 when one person is harmed or killed instead of $25,000. In cases involving two people, coverage increases from $50,000 to $60,000.

Requirements for prescription drug price transparency: HB 2007

A new Virginia law directs the Virginia Department of Health to contract a nonprofit data services organization to create a database of prescription drug pricing. Health carriers, pharmacy benefits managers and drug manufacturers will be required to report drug price information to the organization.

End of cosmetics testing on animals: HB 2250

The Humane Cosmetics Act puts an end to cosmetics testing on animals in Virginia and also prevents any further sale of cosmetics that have been tested on animals. Anyone who violates the law could pay up to $5,000 in initial fines and $1,000 for each day they continue breaking the law.

Change to June primary election date: SB 1148

The Virginia primary election typically held the second Tuesday in June has been moved to the third Tuesday in June. Potential candidates will also have until the third Tuesday in June to file nomination and candidacy papers for officers determined by a November general election.

District or ward-based residency requirements for local elections: HB 2198

School board members and local government officials elected to represent a specific ward or district will now only be elected by qualified voters of that district or ward. This new law states that these elections must not be made by the entire locality but instead just the specific area the candidate would represent. Virginia law previously allowed at-large voting for these kinds of candidates.

Minimum wage increase to $11: SB 7

Virginia employers will now be required to pay their workers a minimum of $11 per hour. The Virginia minimum wage increased from the federal minimum to $9.50 an hour on May 1, 2021. The $11 rate is set to last until Jan. 1, 2023, when the rate will increase again to $12 per hour. Virginia minimum wage will increase until it reaches $15 in 2026.

ABC ending sale of most low-alcohol beverages: SB 1428

People used to buying all of their alcoholic beverages at the ABC store may have to make some changes. In 2022 there will no longer be low alcohol spirits-based beverages available at liquor stores, except for those manufactured in Virginia. Low alcohol applies to anything equal to or less than 7.5% alcohol by volume.

Municipal elections moving from May to November: SB 1157

The law moving all municipal elections for council members and school board members from May to November officially went into effect on July 1, 2021, but it only applies to elections held after Jan. 1, 2022. This means localities that previously elected their local officials in May will now cast those votes during November instead.

Identification privilege cards for non-drivers in the undocumented community: HB 2138

Starting Jan. 3, non-drivers in the undocumented community will be able to apply for a Virginia-issued ID at local Department of Motor Vehicles office.

Undocumented children will also be able to receive an ID.

The new law follows a previous piece of legislation that was signed into law in July 2020 granting undocumented immigrants living in the Commonwealth the privilege to drive starting in 2021.

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