The Virginia General Assembly passed hundreds of bills during its session earlier this year. Although many are minor changes or technical clarifications to existing laws, there now are some notable new laws on the books.
New laws generally take effect July 1 of the year in which they are passed. Below are some of the new laws that take effect Sunday.
Women seeking an abortion are required to obtain an abdominal ultrasound at least 24 hours prior to the abortion procedure. The medical professional performing the ultrasound is to try to determine the gestational age of the fetus. The legislation was altered from an earlier version that would have required a more invasive transvaginal ultrasound.
GunsThe longtime law limiting people to purchasing one handgun per month was repealed. There are no longer any limits on the number of handguns a buyer may purchase at one time in Virginia.
Traffic lawsA person who is convicted of driving under the influence can be required on the first offense to use an ignition interlock system, which will not allow the car to start unless the driver passes a breath test. Currently, the ignition interlock is required only after the second offense.
Two-wheeled motorcycles can drive two abreast in a single lane.
The maximum civil penalty for tampering with an odometer has doubled. It is $3,000.
AlcoholState-run liquor stores are allowed to be open on Sundays.
CrimesThe state has established a mandatory minimum life sentence for an adult (18 and older) raping a child younger than 13.
The sentencing guidelines for a second conviction for certain drug crimes — manufacturing, selling or possessing with intent to distribute — were altered from a five-year to life sentence to add a three-year mandatory prison sentence. The mandatory minimum sentence for a third or subsequent offense also was increased from five to 10 years. These apply to both Schedule I drugs, such as LSD, heroin and marijuana, and prescription drugs that have the potential for abuse, such as Adderall and narcotics.
Massage therapy licensing
Massage therapists are required to be licensed through the Board of Nursing. Currently, a certification is required; praticing massage therapists will be allowed to obtain a temporary license through July 1, 2014.