new laws

New Laws Take Effect July 1 in DC, Maryland and Virginia

Here's a rundown of new laws in our region

New laws go into effect in the D.C. area on Friday, July 1, 2022 related to minimum wage, alcohol, gas taxes and more. Here’s a rundown.

New Law in Washington, D.C.

Minimum Wage Increase: The minimum wage in D.C. will rise from $15.20 to $16.10 per hour for all workers, regardless of employer size. For tipped workers, such as servers, the base minimum wage will increase from $5.05 to $5.35 per hour. Employers of tipped workers must also pay the difference if an employee's tips and base minimum wage do not reach D.C.’s $16.10 minimum wage.

These increases are a part of the Fair Shot Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2016 to increase the minimum wage each year after 2021. In November, D.C. residents will be able to vote on Initiative 82, which asks if the minimum wage should be raised to $15 for tipped workers.

New Laws in Maryland

Abortion Access: As part of Maryland’s plan to become a safe state for those seeking abortions, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and midwives will be allowed to perform abortions, and insurance companies will be required to cover the procedure under a law that goes into effect Friday. Organizations that provide abortion care and resources are expecting a surge of patients from states with abortion bans.

Gas Tax Increase: The gas tax in Maryland went up as of Friday. A gallon of regular gas costs about 7 cents more in Maryland because of a state law that ties the gas tax to inflation, Comptroller Peter Franchot said.

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Maryland’s gas tax is nearly 43 cents per gallon. Gov. Larry Hogan and Franchot have called on the General Assembly to implement another gas tax holiday.

Minimum Wage Increase in Montgomery County: The county's minimum wage will increase to $15.65 for people working at large employers (51 employees or more). It will increase to $14.50 for workers at mid-sized employers, and $14 for those working for small employers.

New Laws in Virginia

Gas Tax Increase: The gas tax in Virginia also went up as of Friday. Virginia drivers will pay nearly 3 cents more per gallon. The tax is now 28 cents per gallon, the Department of Motor Vehicles says.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin has pushed for a gas tax holiday in Virginia.

Cocktails To-Go Delivery: The pandemic-era law allowing to-go cocktails to be sold and delivered in Virginia is being extended through July 2024, with updates. The law now says that third-party deliverers, such as Uber Eats, will need a license to deliver alcoholic beverages purchased by a customer from a restaurant or store.

Delivery personnel will be required to pass an alcohol delivery safety and responsibility course, similar to what a server takes before they are able to serve alcohol. The Virginia ABC said in a statement that the licenses are “created to address safety issues including age verification and food requirements.”

The bill will also affect the containers that to-go alcohol comes in and where it is stored during delivery. During delivery, the alcoholic beverage will need to be sealed and kept behind the delivery driver. Go here for more information.

Loudoun County Plastic Bag Tax: A disposable plastic bag tax of five cents will go into effect in Loudoun County. The new tax will be collected at grocery stores, convenience stores and drugstores countywide.

Officials says the tax is aimed at reducing plastic pollution. Fairfax County, Arlington County and the city of Alexandria have already incorporated a similar tax.

Bringing Alcohol From Out of State: People driving into Virginia can now bring three gallons of alcohol into the state, which is equivalent to about 15 bottles of wine. This is an increase from one gallon. Learn more here.

Sunset Clause Removed From Grain Alcohol Sales: This bill removes a clause that would have ended an increase in the legal proof amount of spirits or alcohol sold in ABC stores. The previous increase was 101 to 151 proof.

Hunting on Sundays: People will be permitted to hunt on Sundays on public or private land, as long as it's more than 200 yards from a place of worship. Find more information here.

Historic African American Cemeteries: This law expands the definition of a qualified organization that may receive funds for maintenance of historic African American cemeteries. It now includes any locality applying for funding to maintain all or part of a neglected historic African American cemetery located within its jurisdictional bounds. Find more information here.

Hazing: Higher-education institutions must provide hazing prevention training to all members or potential members of any student organization that has new members. The training must include extensive, current and in-person education about the dangers of hazing, including intoxication. This bill is known as Adam's Law, in memory of Adam Oakes, a Virginia Commonwealth University student who died in 2021.

Private Family Leave Insurance: This law establishes family leave insurance as a class of insurance. "Family leave insurance" is defined in the bill as an insurance policy that will pay for an employee's income loss due to the birth or adoption of a child by the employee; foster child placement; care of a family member with a serious health condition; or circumstances arising from a family member who is an active-duty service member. Find more information here.

New Marijuana Penalty: Through the Virginia budget, lawmakers created a new criminal misdemeanor for possessing more than 4 ounces (113 grams) but not more than 1 pound (454 grams) of marijuana in public.

In 2021, the General Assembly — then fully controlled by Democrats — legalized adult possession of up to an ounce (28 grams) of marijuana and laid the groundwork for retail sales to begin in 2024. Possession of more than an ounce but less than a pound was previously punishable as a civil violation with a $25 fine.

This year's change drew an outcry from civil rights and marijuana justice advocacy groups, who opposed the creation of a new criminal penalty.

Facial Recognition: Virginia policymakers opted to lift a ban enacted only a year ago on the use of facial recognition technology by most police agencies.

The new law allows police agencies to use the technology in certain circumstances, including to help identify an individual when police have reasonable suspicion that the person committed a crime. It can also be used to help identify crime victims or witnesses, sex trafficking victims and unidentified bodies in morgues.

The new legislation explicitly bars the use of facial recognition for surveillance or monitoring.

FOIA Rollback: Lawmakers this year rolled back a recent reform intended to expand public access to certain law enforcement files in closed criminal investigations.

Under the new law, the disclosure of such records to the press and general public will no longer be mandatory under the state’s public records law. Instead, disclosure will again be up to the discretion of the law enforcement agency. The change, which supporters said would increase protections for crime victims and their families, drew opposition from some relatives of crime victims and attorneys who work on wrongful convictions.

Loud Car Exhausts: Police officers can, once again, pull over and ticket drivers who have excessively loud exhaust systems. Virginia law requires owners and drivers to operate their vehicles with an exhaust system that is in good working order and uses standard factory equipment. Legislation passed in 2021 had prohibited officers from enforcing the law through traffic stops. Improper exhausts are now classified as primary offenses, which means police can go back to stopping drivers suspected of having loud exhaust systems.

Residents throughout Northern Virginia have complained of loud cars, and they have created a quality-of-life issue in Fairfax County, police said.

Parental Say in Classroom Materials: By January, local school boards will have to adopt policies for notifying parents about instructional material containing sexually explicit content. It follows a GOP-sponsored law that picked up enough Democratic support in the state Senate to pass.

The law also requires that parents be allowed to review any instructional materials with explicit content and that students be given an alternative assignment if a parent requests it.

Sexually Explicit Content: Another new law aims to crack down on unsolicited sexually explicit pictures and videos. The measure makes any adult who knowingly transmits an “intimate image” electronically to another adult without their consent subject to financial damages. Under the bill, a court may also restrain the sender from sharing such pictures or video again.

The Associated Press' Sarah Rankin contributed to this report.

NBC Washington/Associated Press
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