Tuesday, June 21, 2016

New Laws Taking Effect July 1st

As hard as it may be to believe, 2016 is nearly half over already.  July 1, 2016 is not only the mid-point of the year (and it’s not only my birthday) it’s also the day that all the new laws Virginia General Assembly passed and the Governor signed become law in Virginia.  I wanted to this opportunity to highlight some new laws that will take effect on July 1st that will have an impact on every day residents of the 53rd District.

Some of you may find yourselves thinking that nothing those politicians in Richmond do has anything to do with you, and you might be right.  On the other hand, you might not be.

For instance, if you are a sports fan and have seen ads for daily fantasy sports websites like FanDuel and DraftKings, you may have wondered whether it was safe and legal to logon and play.  You may be comforted to know that on July 1, 2016 Virginia will be the first state in the country to regulate these websites and put them under the supervision of Virginia’s consumer protection agency.

I was pleased to be a chief co-patron of this new law, which prohibits insiders and employees from playing for money and the sharing of confidential information that could affect fantasy contest play with third parties.  Operators must verify that any fantasy contest player is 18 years of age or older, allow individuals to restrict themselves from entering a fantasy contest upon request, segregate player funds from operational funds in separate accounts, and maintain a reserve in an amount sufficient to pay all prizes and awards offered to winning participants.

If your children ride a school bus to school, and you were concerned that Falls Church was forced to stop issuing tickets by mail to drivers who blew past the stop sign, you may feel a little safer knowing we corrected that legislation, to allow photo enforcement and ticketing by mail to deter dangerous driving behaviors like passing school buses when the stop arm is out.

If you have had to take out a permanent protective order against someone who has been abusive in a domestic relationship, you will now know that the subject of the protective order will have to surrender any firearms in his possession within 24 hours or be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

If you attend a gun show, you can expect to see State Police Officers there, and under a new law effective July 1, the State Police will finally be allowed to perform background checks for any transaction if requested to do so by the buyer and seller.

If you are a child under 8 years old, your parents won’t be allowed to smoke in a car while you are in it, strapped into your car seat.

If your spouse was made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country and was killed in action as determined by the US Department of Defense, you will qualify for an expanded property tax exemption to make it easier for you and your family to stay in your home.

And if you drive eastbound on I-66 toward DC during the evening rush, you will soon be getting a new lane to help ease the bottleneck that forms were the Dulles Connector road meets I-66.  The lane will continue all the way to Ballston where traffic generally begins to ease on your way to Nationals and Capitals games, so you can go watch your daily fantasy sports players, live and in person.

These are just a few of the laws that will come into effect on July 1st. For more highlights, the Division of Legislative Services produces In Due Course, which can found online at http://dls.virginia.gov/pubs/IDC/IDC16.html.

Likewise, the full list of new laws can be assessed by visiting lis.virginia.gov, selecting “Bills and Resolutions,” and then selecting “Approved or Enacted.”