A number of new statutes took effect in Virginia and Tennessee on Monday.
Each state has new laws covering a range of topics, from how to classify electric scooters in Tennessee to happy hour advertising in Virginia.
Both states have new laws affecting car safety — for example, in Virginia, a child must be placed in a rear-facing safety seat while traveling in automobiles until they turn 2 or weigh enough to sit in a front-facing safety seat. Meanwhile, Tennessee will see a “hands-free law” take effect to curb distracted driving.
Virginia will also see a major change in tobacco regulations, with the minimum age for purchasing tobacco and vaping products being raised to 21. Tennessee’s minimum age is still at 18.
Here are a few of the new laws that take effect:
Disclosing lottery winners (HB 1650)
If you win more than $10 million from the Virginia Lottery, the state won’t be able to disclose your name, hometown and amount won — unless you give them permission. The state could previously disclose that information about individual winners (and they still can for people who win amounts less than $10 million).
Reduced tuition at UVA’s College at Wise (HB 1666)
The board of visitors at the University of Virginia can now offer reduced tuition rates at UVA’s College at Wise for students who reside in the Appalachian region. The federal government defines the region as including parts of states as far south as Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi and as north as New York. The change will allow UVa-Wise to offer in-state tuition for residents in Appalachia.
Happy hour advertising (HB 2073)
Businesses can now advertise the prices of alcoholic beverages served during happy hours. They can also use “creative marketing techniques” as long as the techniques “do not tend to induce overconsumption or consumption by minors.” According to the Virginia ABC, licensed establishments can use phrases like “Wine Down Wednesday” and “Thirsty Thursday.” However, the ABC says businesses still can’t advertise “two-for-one” and “bottomless” drink specials.
Tobacco products and nicotine vapor products (SB 1727)
You now need to be at least 21 years old to buy tobacco, nicotine and alternative nicotine products. The law allows a narrow exception for active duty military personnel who are 18 or older.
Child safety seats (HB 708)
Last year, the Virginia General Assembly passed a law that requires children to be in rear-facing safety seats until the age of 2 or they reach a minimum weight for a forward-facing safety seat. Children under 8 must be secured in a safety or booster seat. More information on safety seats can be found on the Department of Motor Vehicles’ website at: dmvNOW.com.
“Hands Free Law” (HB0164)
This “Hands Free Law” prohibits drivers in Tennessee from using or holding their cellphone while operating a motor vehicle. The law also prohibits drivers from texting and watching videos while behind the wheel, although an exception exists for “viewing data related to the navigation of the motor vehicle.” Reporter Robert Sorrell will take a closer look at this new law in Monday’s edition of the Bristol Herald Courier.
“Lemonade Stand Bill” (SB 0433)
Referred to as the “Lemonade Stand Bill,” this new law prohibits a locality from requiring a license, fee, permit or other form of regulation for a business operated by a person under 18 on private property, with the owner’s permission. This applies to businesses generating gross receipts of $3,000 or less annually.
Minimum age for marriage (HB 0189)
This law prohibits a marriage license from being issued to an applicant younger than 17. The state previously allowed licenses to be issued for people who were at least 16 but under 18, with the consent of their parent or guardian. The new law also specifically defines “parent” or “parents” as “a person or persons listed as a parent on the child’s birth certificate or who have been adjudicated to be the legal parent of the child by a court of competent jurisdiction.”
Electric scooters (SB 1107)
This law establishes that an electric foot scooter will be considered a motor-driven vehicle under the state’s DUI laws. If you drive an electric scooter — like a Bird or a Lime — while under the influence, you can be charged with DUI.
Required civics test (HB 1016)
To earn their diploma, high school students will be required to pass a civics test covering American government, history and civics. Students need to answer at least 70% of the questions correctly to pass.