RICHMOND, Va. -- As the new year begins, several bills that were passed by the Virginia General Assembly last year are now in effect in the Commonwealth.
No Handheld Devices While Driving
HB874/SB160 prohibits people from holding a handheld communication device, like a cellphone, while driving. It is also a primary offense, so law enforcement can pull you over for it. A first time offense carries a $125 fine, while subsequent fines (or if the infraction takes place in a highway work zone) will be $250. There are some exemptions such as drivers who are lawfully stopped or emergency/Department of Transportation vehicles performing official duties.
Surprise Medical Billing Protection
HB1251/SB172 protects people from surprise (or balanced) billing for care that is outside of their insurance network. This covers emergency services and some non-emergency services including surgery and radiology.
Insulin Co-pay Caps
HB66 orders health insurance companies to put a $50 cap on co-pays for a 30-day supply of insulin.
No Online Classes for Conceal Carry Permits
HB264/SB263 removes the option for someone seeking a conceal carry permit to demonstrate competency by completing a certified course virtually or online. Instead they will have to attend certified in-person instruction.
Housing Authority Notification Requirements
HB921/SB708 requires housing authorities requesting permission from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to demolish or redevelop a housing project, must give residents 12 months notice prior to submitting the request.
HB1407 prohibits employers from misclassifying their employees as independent contractors (unless they can prove the worker is a contractor). Violators could face civil penalties or be banned from bidding on public contracts.