NORFOLK, Va. — 2023 is finally upon us, and with that, a new year means new laws are in effect for Virginians.
Over the last two years, the Virginia General Assembly passed several laws that didn't take effect until January 1, 2023. From a minimum wage jump to new consumer data protections, the new laws will impact several parts of Virginia's economy.
Here's a look at the new Virginia laws now in place:
Repeal of state grocery tax
Virginians won't see a 1.5% tax at the register when buying groceries anymore, a savings of $1.50 for every $100 spent.
The cut doesn’t completely wipe out taxes on groceries in Virginia since localities can still add a 1% tax at check-out if they choose.
During his first year in office, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, pushed for the repeal of the grocery tax as part of his plan to cut taxes across the board.
The repeal was included in the 2022-24 biennium state budget that the General Assembly passed and Youngkin signed last year.
Minimum wage increase to $12/hour
The minimum wage in Virginia is now $12 an hour, a bump up from the previous $11 an hour.
The raise is part of a 2020 law passed under former Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026.
While the law created a path for wage increases to 13.50 an hour on Jan. 1, 2025, and $15 an hour a year later, they won't take effect unless Virginia lawmakers reenact the law before July 1, 2024.
If they don't do that, Virginia's annual minimum wage will adjust based on increases in the consumer price index starting on Jan. 1, 2025.
Consumer data protections
The Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act, passed in 2021, created new rules for businesses that control, process, or sell the personal data of thousands of customers.
The law also gave people rights to access, correct, delete and obtain a copy of personal data and to opt-out of the processing of personal data used for targeted advertising, the sale of personal data, or the profiling of consumers.
Changes to state unemployment system
Virginia lawmakers passed a law in 2022 to reform the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) following widespread issues during the COVID-19 pandemic: a backlog in unemployment claims.
Under the law, the VEC has to undergo mandatory and recommended "program integrity" activities recommended by the federal government. The commission will also have to review suspicious or potentially improper unemployment claims and recover any overpayment of benefits.
The VEC will have to create a report by Dec. 1 of each year outlining how it is implementing and enforcing this new law.