Home Gas effect New laws take effect July 1 in Virginia and Maryland

New laws take effect July 1 in Virginia and Maryland

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RICHMOND — Virginians will pay more gas taxes, but have an easier time getting medical marijuana, hunting on Sundays and transporting alcohol across state lines, while in Maryland , sweeping police accountability measures will come into effect from Friday, when a slew of new laws come into effect across the region.

from Maryland police accountability measures include the repeal of the powerful Law Enforcement Bill of Rights (LEOBR), as well as new rules on when police can use force and how it is investigated and disciplined.

Since the 1970s, the LEOBR has dictated that police officers accused of misconduct, including excessive use of force, can only be investigated by fellow officers – not civilians. The new law requires counties to assemble Police Accountability Boards (PABs) and Administrative Charge Boards (ACCs), where civilians will have a role to play in reviewing and investigating allegations of misconduct and , in some cases, in the application of administrative repercussions.

Officers who get into trouble from Friday will be subject to the new procedures.

The new use-of-force standard, one of the strictest in the nation, requires officers to prioritize de-escalation tactics and says they cannot use force against a person unless “in the all the circumstances, the force is necessary and proportionate.” Under the law, an officer who uses excessive force faces criminal penalties of up to 10 years in prison.

Some of the new laws taking effect in Virginia bear the stamp of the state’s new Republican governor, who won the job on a promise to cut taxes and give parents more control over public schools. One of Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s most important goals, the elimination of the food tax, won’t go into effect until January, however, and won’t go as far as he would have liked. (Democrats who control the state Senate agreed to remove only the 1.5% portion of the state tax; the 1% levied by localities will remain in place.)

“On day one, the Governor promised Virginians that he would get to work to keep our communities safe, restore excellence in education, reform the [Virginia Employment Commission], increase the number of school resource officers, protect our students in schools, and support our law enforcement and veterans; the bills taking effect July 1 demonstrate that the governor has delivered on his top priorities and promises,” Youngkin spokeswoman Macaulay Porter said in a written statement.

Democrats thwarted Youngkin’s efforts to suspend the 26.2 cents per gallon gasoline tax for three months. In fact, the tax will increase by 1.8 cents per gallon starting Friday, bringing it to 28 cents per gallon.

The change is the result of a law passed in 2020, which indexed the fuel tax to inflation but delayed the enactment of this provision for two years. The increase in diesel is 1.9 cents per gallon, taking it from 27 cents to 28.9 cents.

Both changes reflect a 7% adjustment based on the consumer price index. Youngkin proposed capping the CPI adjustment at 2%, but Democrats pushed it back.

An additional hike of 0.4 cents per gallon comes into effect, the result of a law dating back to the late 1980s that triggers an increase if the Petroleum Storage Tank Fund falls below $12 million.

In education, a new law in Virginia will require principals to alert the police to certain crimes alleged to have taken place in schools. It replaces a law, championed by Democrats in recent years as a way to break the “school-to-prison pipeline,” that gave principals more leeway to report non-crimes.

The previous law became an issue during last year’s gubernatorial race amid an uproar over the Loudoun County School Board’s handling of a pair of sexual assaults.

Another New Virginia Law arising from a hot campaign issue requires schools to notify parents of any assignments involving sexually explicit material. Parents can withdraw their children and teachers must give these students a different assignment.

The law comes into force on Friday but its impact on classrooms will not be felt for several months. The Ministry of Education has until the end of July to develop model policies related to the implementation of the law. Local school boards then have until January to adopt their own policies consistent with the state model.

A new election law directs registrars to remove dead Virginians from voter rolls weekly instead of monthly. Another requires them to report mail-in ballots by precinct, a measure intended to bring more transparency to the election.

In another change, Virginians will be allowed to carry up to three gallons of alcohol across state lines if it’s for personal use, up from the previous limit of one. gallon. The state has also relaxed medical marijuana laws, removing the requirement for patients to register with the state Board of Pharmacy. They still need written certification from a medical provider.

Hunting will be permitted on public lands on Sundays in Virginia, which had been prohibited since colonial times. The legislator had previously lifted the Sunday ban on private land.

Other measures taking effect Friday in Maryland include the end of sales taxes on various essential items such as diapers, bottles, toothbrushes, diabetic supplies and other medical devices. The tax relief is one part of a broader five-year package of tax cuts designed to help seniors and working families and reward businesses that hire unemployed people.

Another Maryland law effective Friday largely prohibits public schools from using segregation as a behavioral intervention. It allows for isolation in non-public schools, but with restrictions such as requiring a trained medical professional to observe the student during isolation. The law comes after a 2020 federal investigation found that the Frederick County Public School District improperly isolated and restrained students with disabilities.

And starting Friday, Maryland law will explicitly allow student-athletes to alter their uniforms to make them more modest to conform to their religion, culture or personal preferences. Among those advocating for the law was Je’Nan Hayes, who was benched at a high school basketball game in 2017 because she wore a hijab.

Next in the district, most new laws go into effect at the start of its fiscal year on Oct. 1. But the annual cost-of-living adjustment to the minimum wage takes effect on Friday; minimum wage workers will see their hourly wage drop from $15.50 to $16.10.

Julie Zauzmer Weil contributed to this report.