See New Laws Now in Effect for DC, MD, VA for 2019

Straws are out in DC, and Jefferson Davis Highway in Alexandria is now Richmond Highway

What to Know

  • Businesses and organizations in DC are now prohibited from giving out single-use plastic straws or stirrers.
  • In Alexandria, Jefferson Davis Highway is officially now called Richmond Highway.
  • In Maryland, health insurers must now provide coverage for fertility preservation procedures for patients undergoing cancer treatments.

A new year brings new laws to D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Here are some of the latest changes that you should know about in 2019:


Plastic Straws and Stirrers:

Businesses and organizations selling or serving food or drinks in D.C. are now prohibited from giving out single-use plastic straws or stirrers. The D.C. Department of Energy and Environment is inspecting businesses for compliance as of Jan. 1 and will begin issuing official warnings and fines on July 1.


Unless signs indicate otherwise, the speed limit is now 15 mph on all streets adjacent to schools, youth facilities, recreation facilities, playgrounds, pools, athletic fields and senior centers between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Drivers who pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk for a pedestrian will receive a three-point penalty and a $500 fine.

Driving 26 mph or more over the speed limit will carry additional fines on highways and typical roadways.

Driving 30 mph or more over the speed limit is now a criminal offense.

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D.C. residents must have health insurance under the Individual Responsibility Requirement, which serves as a replacement for the now-repealed federal requirement. If you need to sign up for health care in D.C., go to Open enrollment runs through Jan. 31.

Early Childhood Education: 

New subsidy rates are in place for early childhood centers. The District runs child care assistance programs that help eligible families pay for child care.

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Highway Renamed:

In Alexandria, Jefferson Davis Highway is officially now called Richmond Highway effective Jan. 1, following a vote last summer by the Alexandria City Council. Street numbers will not change, officials said; for example, an address of 123 Jefferson Davis Highway would become 123 Richmond Highway. Residents and businesses should notify anyone who may visit or send mail, but they don't need to notify the U.S. Postal Service or City of Alexandria departments, or change property deeds, city officials said.

Medicaid Expansion:

Thousands of previously uninsured, low-income Virginians now have new health care coverage. The newly insured will be enrolled with private insurance companies called managed care organizations, which have been covering Medicaid patients in Virginia for decades. Find more information here. 

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Health Condition Coverage:

Several new laws in Maryland involve health insurance. One expands coverage for equipment, supplies and self-management training to apply to elevated or impaired glucose levels caused by prediabetes. The new mandate also will apply to treating impaired glucose levels induced by pregnancy. 

Fertility Awareness: 

Another new law will require insurers to cover instruction by a licensed health care provider on "fertility awareness-based methods," which are ways of identifying times of fertility and infertility to avoid pregnancy.

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Fertility Preservation:

Health insurers will be required to cover fertility preservation procedures for people who need medical treatment that could directly or indirectly cause "iatrogenic infertility," which is infertility caused by cancer treatments.

See more new Maryland health laws here. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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