New Virginia Laws Take Effect Tuesday

June 28th, 2008 by WY Daily Staff

Here’s a sampling of new laws taking effect Tuesday:

MENTAL HEALTH

  • Tighten criteria for identifying, detaining and ordering treatment for mentally ill people who are a threat to themselves and others.
  • Streamline the ability of mental health care providers to inform law enforcement, school officials and families to care for people in an unstable mental condition.

EMERGENCY PLANNING

  • Require public colleges and universities to develop an emergency plan and update it every four years, establish a threat assessment team, and create a system to notify students and employees of emergencies.

ANIMAL FIGHTING/CRUELTY

  • Make attendance at any organized animal fight a felony, allow searches in animal cruelty cases after sunset without obtaining a new warrant, make it a felony to use any substance or equipment to enhance an animal’s ability to fight and make it a misdemeanor to allow minors to attend an animal fight.
  • Require large commercial dog breeding operations to get a business license, submit to inspections by local animal control officers and keep strict records.

DRIVING/VEHICLE REGISTRATION

  • Extend a driver’s license from five to eight years, charge a $5 fee for renewing a vehicle registration at a DMV center rather than online, by phone or mail and offer a $1 discount for renewing online or for more than one year at a time.
  • Require anyone who fails the driving test three times in three months to take a driving class before being tested again.
  • Increase the penalty for minors who drink and drive.
  • Prohibit school bus drivers from talking on cell phones.
  • Require drivers to move into another lane or slow down when an emergency vehicle is on the side of the road with its lights on.

SEXUAL ASSAULT

  • Close the “marriage offer” loophole that gives men who sexually attack girls 14 to 16 years old a defense against criminal charges if they offer to marry the victim.
  • Eliminate the requirement that sexual assault victims take lie detector tests.
  • Require the state to pay for forensic medical examinations on sexual assault victims.
  • Require courts to immediately add protective orders issued in civil cases for abused spouses into a state police database.
  • Require those guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor of French kissing a minor to register as sex offenders.

ODDS & ENDS

  • Lower the blood donor age to 16.
  • Allow restaurants to serve sangria by eliminating an obscure state law that prohibits restaurants from serving drinks that mix wine or beer with hard liquor.
  • Expand background checks on teachers and make it a crime to lie on a school application about past child abuse complaints.
  • Allow state-run liquor stores in Hampton, Portsmouth, Newport News, Chesapeake and Richmond to open on Sundays.

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