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Here are some new Virginia laws taking effect that you need to know about.

July 1 marks the beginning of dozens of new pieces of legislation in the commonwealth.

RICHMOND, Va. — July 1 is a major marker for new legislation that has been passed in the commonwealth. 

Here's a breakdown of a few of the new laws taking effect, and how they might impact you or make a difference in your community:

House Bill 426: Alcohol Delivery

Credit: Martins - stock.adobe.com

This bill allows third-party delivery licenses that permit a person who represents a business, like DoorDash or GrubHub, to deliver alcohol that was bought from a retailer or restaurant. These delivery drivers need to take a class to get the delivery license.

Certain container requirements will apply, and people who are delivering alcohol without the license can face up to a $5,000 fine. This will handled and regulated by the Virginia Beverage Control Authority. 

Other laws surrounding drinks will also go into effect, like the ability to drink at casinos and the lifting of restrictions on certain types of grain alcohols. 

Senate Bill 741: Facial Recognition Technology

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Authentication by facial recognition concept. Biometric admittance control device for security system. Asian man using face scanner to unlock glass door in office building.

This bill allows police departments, including local agencies and university departments, to use facial recognition technology for "certain authorized uses." The technology used must be approved by the National Institutes of Standard and Technology, and it must also have a 98% true positive rate. 

Within the bill, wording allows for departments to create their own model policies, but they must meet or exceed certain minimum requirements. 

Departments will also be required to publish annual reports, and the images will NOT be able to be used to establish probable cause for a search warrant or arrest. Click here to read more.

Senate Bill 87 and 90: Animal Testing

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The white rabbit in scientific lab experiment

With major pushes from animal advocates in regard to Virginia animal testing facilities after reports of animal welfare violations at a breeding and research facility in Cumberland, Virginia, SB 87 now bans the sale of dogs or cats for testing purposes. 

Senate Bill 90 goes a step further, and requires that facilities who no longer need the animals they have tested on previously to put them up for adoption versus euthanasia. 

House Bill 258: Battling Human Trafficking

Hands of a missing kidnapped, abused, hostage, victim woman tied

In 2020 alone, 119 cases of human trafficking were reported, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. That doesn't account for the vast number of cases that fly under the radar and go unreported. 

In an effort to help victims, House Bill 258 allows the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services to create a free online course that will help hotel workers identify signs of potential trafficking and learn how to report appropriately.

House Bill 740: Car thefts

This newly created law addresses the rising level of crimes related to cars, especially catalytic converter thefts. It's now a Class 6 felony, which could include a prison sentence of up to five years, if you "willfully break, injure, tamper with, or remove any part or parts of any vehicle, aircraft, boat, or vessel for the purpose of injuring, defacing, or destroying said vehicle, aircraft, boat, or vessel."

Credit: Орлов Александр - Adobe Stock
File image of a catalytic converter (catalyst) installed on a car.

Other important issues are addressed in new bills, such as hazing laws for private universities and safety audit requirements of schools by chief police officers in communities. To learn more about other new legislation, click here.

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