New Laws in VA!

Did you know that new laws in Virginia took effect on July 1st?

Here are some of the laws  and the summaries of what they do.




HB1392: This law allows school security officers who formerly served as law enforcement to carry firearms. The security officers must have been former law enforcement at least 10 years prior to their work in the school and met training and certification requirements outlined by the Department of Criminal Justice Services. The School Board decides whether to authorize the use of firearms by security officers in their locality.


HB1552: This law requires school boards to notify students and their families about career and technical training opportunities. They must also update their website with available opportunities for students to earn nationally recognized career readiness certificates from local high schools, community colleges, and workforce centers.


HB1662: This law requires the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV) to work with public universities to create a policy for accepting credit for dual enrollment courses completed by incoming freshman while in high school. The law would require that this information be made public on the SCHEV and school’s website.


HB1709: This law amends the code of conduct policy by directing school principals to inform parents of any student involved in an alleged bullying incident of the status of any investigation within 5 days of the initial report of bullying.


HB1924: This law directs to Virginia Board of Education to develop alternatives to suspension which can include practices like mediation and peer-to-peer counseling.


HB2332: This law sets a goal for the state to pay teachers at or above the national average. [Specific funds were not allocated in the 2017 budget to work towards this goal.]


Criminal Justice Reform

Copy of 7.25.17


HB 2051/ SB 1091 Marijuana Offense, Driver’s license forfeiture – Revises the existing provision that a person loses his driver’s license for six months when convicted of or placed on deferred disposition for a drug offense to provide that the provision does not apply to deferred disposition of simple possession of marijuana. The bill also requires that such a person whose driver’s license is not suspended or revoked perform 50 hours of community service in addition to any community service ordered as part of the deferred disposition. 


HB 2327 DUI; implied consent; refusal of blood or breath tests – Eliminates the criminal penalties for refusing to submit to a blood test to determine the alcohol or drug content of a defendant’s blood upon arrest for a DUI-related offense under the law on implied consent.


HB 2386/ SB 854 Collection of unpaid court fines, etc. – Increases the grace period after which collection activity for unpaid court fines, costs, forfeitures, penalties, and restitution may be commenced from 30 days to 90 days after sentencing or judgment. The bill also establishes the requirements for deferred or installment payment agreements that a court must offer a defendant who is unable to pay court-ordered fines, costs, forfeitures, and penalties.The bill fixes the maximum down payments that a court may require as a condition of entering a payment plan and provides that payments made within 10 days of their due date are timely made. The bill precludes a court from denying a defendant the opportunity to enter into a payment agreement solely because of the crime committed, the total amount owed or that such amount has been referred to collections.


HB 1456 Custody and visitation orders; parenting time. – Provides that the court, in its discretion and as to a parent, may use the phrase “parenting time” to be synonymous with the term “visitation” in a custody or visitation order.


HB 1845 Department of Criminal Justice Services; model addiction recovery program; jails. – Requires the Department of Criminal Justice Services, in consultation with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, to develop a model addiction recovery program that may be administered by sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, jail officers, administrators, or superintendents in any local or regional jail.


HB 1951 Criminal Justice Services Board and its Committee on Training; citizen membership. – Adds to both the Criminal Justice Services Board (the Board) and its Training Committee one citizen member representing community interests.


HB 2067 Decertification of law-enforcement officers; notification. – Requires persons obligated to notify the Criminal Justice Services Board when a law-enforcement officer or jail officer has committed an act or been convicted of a crime that requires decertification to notify the Criminal Justice Services Board within 48 hours of becoming aware of such act or conviction.


Mental Health


HB 2258 – Suicide task force: Requires the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services to report to the Governor and General Assembly on suicide prevention and any related activities.

HB 2095 – Registration of peer recovery specialists and qualified mental health professionals: This bill requires peer recovery specialists and qualified mental health professionals to register, and provides definitions for mental health professionals and what services they provide.

HB 1549 – Community services board and behavioral health authorities services to be provided: States that beginning July 1, 2019 community service boards and behavioral health authorities will, provide same-day access to mental health screening and services and outpatient primary care screening and follow-up services for people in need of assistance with accessing primary health services.  It also says that starting July 1, 2021, services provided will include, crisis services for those with mental health or substance abuse disorders, outpatient mental health and substance abuse services, psychiatric rehabilitation services, peer support and family support services, mental health services for members of the armed forces that aren’t located near a VA medical facility and care coordination services and case management services.




Women’s Empowerment

Copy of Copy of Blackbird

HB 1467 Neonatal abstinence syndrome; Board of Heath to adopt regulations to include as reportable disease. –Requires the Board of Health to adopt regulations to include neonatal abstinence syndrome on the list of diseases that shall be required to be reported.

HB 1656 Health Insurance; Proton radiation therapy coverage decisions –Prohibits health insurance policies and plans from holding proton radiation therapy to a higher standard of clinical evidence for benefit coverage decisions than is applied for other types of radiation therapy treatment. The measure applies to policies and plans that provide coverage for cancer therapy. The bill contains an emergency clause.

HB 2127 Victims of sexual assault; rights of victims; physical evidence recovery kits. –Requires that victims of sexual assault be advised by the investigating law-enforcement agency of their rights regarding physical evidence recovery kits. The bill requires the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services of the Virginia Department of General Services and law-enforcement agencies to store a physical evidence recovery kit for an additional 10 years following a written objection to its destruction from the victim. The bill requires the law-enforcement agency to notify the victim at least 60 days prior to the intended date of destruction of the kit and provides that no victim of sexual assault shall be charged for the cost of collecting or storing a kit.

HB 2183 Medicaid; eligibility of incarcerated individuals –Directs the Department of Medical Assistance Services to convene a work group to identify and develop processes for streamlining the application and enrollment process for the Commonwealth’s program of medical assistance services and the Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS) program for eligible incarcerated individuals so that applicable services shall be available to such individuals immediately upon release from the correctional facility and to report its findings and recommendations by November 30, 2017.

HB 2348 Women’s Right to vote; VA. Historical Society shall plan commemoration of centennial anniversary –Provides that the Virginia Historical Society shall plan and lead the commemoration of the centennial anniversary of women’s right to vote in 2020. The bill creates a 12-member task force to assist the Virginia Historical Society, in collaboration with the Library of Virginia, the Department of Education, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy, the VCU Libraries Special Collections and Archives, and interested civic and community organizations, in planning, developing, and performing programs and activities appropriate to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote and the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

SB 1060 Female genital mutilation; criminal penalty and civil action–Makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor for any person to knowingly circumcise, excise, or infibulate the labia major, labia minora, or clitoris of a minor. The bill makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor for any parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the care of a minor to consent to such circumcision, excision, or infibulation. The bill also makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor for any parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the care of a minor to knowingly remove or cause or permit the removal of such minor from the Commonwealth for the purposes of performing such circumcision, excision, or infibulation. The bill also provides a civil cause of action for any person injured by such circumcision, excision, or infibulation. The bill provides that any of these offenses shall be a separate and distinct offense and shall not preclude prosecution under any other statute.

HB 2267 Health benefit plans; coverage for hormonal contraceptives. –Requires any health benefit plan that is amended, renewed, or delivered on or after January 1, 2018, that provides coverage for hormonal contraceptives to cover up to a 12-month supply of hormonal contraceptives when dispensed or furnished at one time for a covered person or at a location licensed or otherwise authorized to dispense drugs or supplies.




Elections/Voting Rights

HB1730  Electoral boards, local; description of duties and responsibilities, required affirmation. Description of duties and responsibilities of local electoral boards; Department of Elections to provide annually to certain entities. Requires the State Board of Elections, with the cooperation of the local electoral boards and general registrars, to develop a description of the duties and responsibilities of the local electoral boards. The Department of Elections is required to provide this description to the clerks of the circuit courts, the chairmen of the state and district political party committees, the general registrars, and the local electoral boards

HB 1912. Absentee voting; eligibility of persons granted protective order. The law entitles a person to vote absentee if the person has been granted a protective order issued by or under the authority of any court of competent jurisdiction.
HB 1933. Candidate withdrawal; notice of withdrawal; information to voters. The law provides that a candidate who has qualified to have his name printed on the ballot for an election is not deemed to have withdrawn from such election until he has submitted a signed written notice declaring his intent to withdraw and that notice has been received by the general registrar. The law requires the Department of Elections to include in its candidate guidance documents the requirements and process for candidate withdrawal. The law also provides that when ballots are not corrected to delete a candidate’s name, the general registrar shall provide a list of candidates who have withdrawn to be posted in each polling place and made available to the public.


SB960 Absentee ballots; expediting the counting of absentee ballots returned by mail prior to election day. Provides that if a general registrar has opted to expedite the counting of absentee ballots returned by mail by opening the sealed ballot envelopes in accordance with law, the requirement that the absentee ballot return envelope and unopened ballot envelope be deposited into an appropriate container does not apply. Current law contains a contradiction that absentee ballot return envelopes and unopened ballot envelopes are to be deposited into an appropriate container while also allowing the sealed ballot envelopes to be opened so that they may be inserted into a ballot scanner machine or other secure ballot container.


SB 961 Absentee voting; processing of rejected absentee ballots. Provides that when an absentee ballot is rejected, at least two officers of election, one representing each political party, are required to write and sign a statement for the cause of the ballot’s rejection. Currently, the law requires that a majority of the officers write and sign such statement.

We have highlighted numerous new laws in Virginia that are now in effect (as of July 1, 2017) in the areas of Education, Criminal Justice, Mental Health, Women’s Empowerment, and Voting/Elections.  
What law would you enact to better your community and the Commonwealth of Virginia? Join us as we gear up for our state level legislative advocacy efforts!
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