NEW LAWS EFFECTIVE JANUARY 01
1. Surprise Medical Billing
Patients enrolled in managed care health plans previously could receive medical bills for more than their plan’s cost-sharing amounts directly from out-of-network medical service providers. Under the new law, state employees and those enrolled in a healthcare.gov plan will be notified by the out-of-network provider about how the patient is protected, when surprise billing may come into effect, and what to do if the patient is billed too much.
2. Worker Misclassification
A new state law will further define the difference between independent contractors and employees to keep employers from misclassifying workers, which can lead to under-compensation and other unfair employment practices.
3. Undocumented Immigrant Driver Privilege Cards
Starting today, people in Virginia who cannot provide proof of legal residency will be able to obtain a driver privilege card. This new law will help keep our roads safer, and break down barriers to employment and education that previously unfairly held back undocumented communities.
4. License Suspension for Nonpayment
The DMV can no longer suspend a person’s driver’s license for failing to pay fines or court costs associated with a conviction or violation of law. It also requires the Department to reinstate any licenses previously suspended. Previous to this law, licenses suspended for nonpayment unfairly targeted those without the means to pay their fines, making it harder for certain populations to get to work or school safely and legally.
5. Distracted Driving
Holding a device while driving on a highway in Virginia is now prohibited, with a potential fine of $125 for a first offense and up to $250 for subsequent offenses. Previously, holding a device was only prohibited in active construction zones, which is now a mandatory fine of $250.
6. Reckless Driving Threshold
The new reckless driving threshold for speeding is raised from 80 mph to 85 mph, complying with the already-existing law of 20+ mph above the speed limit constituting as reckless driving. There are no speed limits above 75 mph in Virginia, so the law is now equal. However, there will still be a $100 increase to any speeding ticket issued for speeds between 80 and 85 mph.
7. Photo Speed Monitoring
Speeding by more than 10 mph in active construction zones and school zones may now be subject to a speed camera that can be implemented by cities and counties. Tickets will be issued by mail.
Be on the lookout for even more coming out of Virginia Senate Democrats in the upcoming legislative session beginning January 13! If you want to help us continue passing bills that help make our Commonwealth safer, fairer, and moving forward, consider making a donation today to help us keep up the good work.