Most new laws and changes to existing laws take effect on July 1st, following the General Assembly session. Below is a link to a summary from Legislative Services of this year’s changes to Virginia law. I just want to highlight some of the more significant changes that I have been contacted about by concerned constituents.
VIRGINIA’S GREEN NEW DEAL – Several bills were passed during session that fall under the umbrella of “Virginia’s Green New Deal” including House Bill (HB) 981 / Senate Bill (SB) 1027, HB 1526 / SB 851, HB 1634 / SB 629, and HB 1664 / SB 860 / SB998. Taken together, these bills require power companies to phase out the use of fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind. The problem is that these alternative sources are much more expensive and less reliable. This will cause electric rates to significantly increase in the future. This is being done in an attempt to reduce air pollution and combat climate change. Air pollution has already been dramatically reduced in Virginia and the US in recent decades by implementing new, cleaner power generation technology, and an overall reduction of reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will not be achieved unless countries like China, India, and others reduce their pollution. All these bills will do is significantly increase your electric bill, reduce economic growth and jobs in the Commonwealth, for no real benefit to the global climate.
HB1414 / SB 980 – Increases the gas tax by 12 cents per gallon over the next few years, then automatically increases it to account for inflation. The legislation also increases the number of transportation related funds that will receive the gas tax revenue, so I am not sure that this will actually result in an increase of funds to improve our roads or not!
HB 395 / SB 7 – Increases the minimum wage to $ 15 / hour over the next few years, then it will be automatically increased to account for inflation. This will result in fewer entry level and low skilled jobs and more automation.
HB 33 / SB 793 & HB 35 / SB 103 – Expands the number of criminal inmates that will be eligible for parole, including some murderers and sex offenders.
HB 19 / SB 65 – Removes the requirement that you present a photo ID in order to vote.
HB 1211 / SB 34 – Allows illegal aliens to get a driver’s license.
HB 1547 / SB 935 – Allows illegal aliens to qualify for in-state tuition at our public colleges and universities.
HB 1537 / SB 183 – Gives localities the authority to remove veteran’s and war memorials and statues.
HB 421 / SB 35 – Allows localities to adopt gun control ordinances; this does away local preemption for gun control laws, something that I pushed through the General Assembly 16 years ago. The result will be a patch work of inconsistent laws throughout the state. You should be careful if you are traveling from one locality to another, because you could be legally carrying a gun in one locality and then inadvertently break the law when you go into another locality even if you have a state permit to carry.
HB 874 / SB 160 – Bans the use of handheld cell phones while driving, effective 1 January 2021.
To read more about new laws please visit this web page: In Due Course-New Virginia Laws