A Summary of New Virginia Laws, Effective July 1, 2015


A number of new laws took effect in the Commonwealth last Wednesday, July 1, 2015, dealing with topics ranging from breastfeeding to drones to social media to the new Virginia state songs!  Below are some of the highlights that I found interesting.  You can find a more exhaustive summary done by Virginia’s Division of Legislative Services by clicking here

You don’t have to “friend” your boss.  An employer cannot require an employee to disclose the username and password to any of his or her social media accounts, or require that an employee add another employee, supervisor, or administrator to the list of contacts associated with the employee’s social media accounts.  (HB 2081)

Nursing moms have rights too.  A mother may breastfeed in any place where the mother is lawfully present.  Former law only allowed public breastfeeding on property controlled by the Commonwealth. (HB 1499/SB1427)

Immunity for rescue of minors, including babies left in cars.  Virginia grants civil immunity to a person rendering emergency care to remove an unattended minor at risk of serious bodily injury (including forcible entry of a motor vehicle), provided that the person has attempted to contact emergency medical services, if feasible under the circumstances.  (HB 2082)

Safe reporting of overdoses.  Virginia established an affirmative defense to possession of drugs, public intoxication, or underage purchase, possession, or consumption of alcohol, if a person sought or obtained emergency medical attention for himself or herself or another individual because of an alcohol or drug overdose and the evidence for the charge was obtained as a result of seeking the emergency medical treatment. The individual invoking the defense must remain at the scene of the overdose, identify himself or herself to the law enforcement officer, and cooperate with any investigation relating to the drugs or alcohol that resulted in the overdose. (HB 1500/SB 892)

Use of drones by the State require a search warrant. The state cannot use unmanned aircraft for law enforcement purposes without a search warrant, except in emergency situations. (HB 2125/ SB 1301)

Virginia has two new state songs!  Our Great Virginia is the traditional song (“I fill with pride for all you give us — rolling hills, majestic mountains, from the Shenandoah to the Atlantic, rivers wide and forests tall, all in one Virginia”, listen here) and Sweet Virginia Breeze is the popular song (“He must have been have been thinking ’bout me when He planted that very first dogwood tree, and when that breeze starts blowing through the trees, you know everything will be all right. You’re living in the sweet Virginia breeze”, listen here).  The Commonwealth’s previous state song, “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny” was officially retired in 1997 due to lyrics there were offensive to many Virginians.  (HB 1472/ SB 1362)

Crossing a double yellow line for pedestrians or cyclists allowed.  If such movement can be made safely, a driver can cross a double solid yellow line to pass a pedestrian or device moved by human power (bicycle, skateboard, scooter).  (SB 781)

Universities required to include prominent statement on transcripts for sexual violence offenders.  Institutions of higher education are required to include a prominent notation on the transcript of each student who has been suspended for, permanently dismissed for, or withdraws from the institution while under investigation for, an offense involving sexual violence. (SB 1193)

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[The information and materials on this blog are provided for general informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Being general in nature, the information and materials provided may not apply to any specific factual and/or legal set of circumstances. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. Nothing on this blog is intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney, especially an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. If you require legal advice, please consult with a competent attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.]