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These laws go into effect July 1 in DC, Maryland and Virginia

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The state budgets are passed, the legislation has been signed, and it’s the eve of the new fiscal year in D.C., Virginia and Maryland. And as of tomorrow, there will be some new laws on the books.

Here’s a look at some of the legislation going into effect starting July 1.

D.C.

Minimum Wage Increase: The city’s minimum wage will increase from $15.50 to $16.10 per hour for non-tipped employees.  Meanwhile, the base minimum wage for tipped employees jumps from $5.05 to $5.35 per hour. If a worker’s hourly tip earnings plus base wage do not equal the city’s minimum wage of $16.10, on a weekly average, then their employer has to pay the difference.

The increase comes as part of the 2016 law driven by the “Fight for $15” labor movement.

Maryland

The Maryland legislative session was a classic back-and-forth on big issues like police funding, redistricting, tax relief and more between the Democrat-controlled General Assembly and Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

Here are a few of the laws taking effect Friday.

Taxes: There are quite a few changes to the tax code in Maryland this year, including an income tax subtraction for retired public safety employees receiving pensions, a tax benefit to employers who employ workers with certain barriers to employment, changes to the state’s earned income tax credit based on the federal credit, and an additional tax credit for most retired Marylanders.

A few items will also be exempt from the state’s sales tax: oral hygiene and baby products, like bottles, car seats, and diapers, as well as medical items like masks and certain thermometers, according to the Tax Foundation.

Schools: The Maryland General Assembly mostly banned public and some private schools from using seclusion and physical restraint on students. The measure also requires the state’s education department to develop an accountability system to make sure schools comply.

The legislature also made changes to the state and local funding formula for school construction projects.

Abortion: Over Hogan’s veto, the General Assembly passed the Abortion Care Access Act, which codifies that “qualified providers” may perform abortions in Maryland, and further puts in place funding and structures for training abortion providers in the state. It also specifies how insurance providers, including Medicaid, should cover abortions in Maryland — though the insurance aspects of the bill won’t apply to plans prior to January 2023.

Marijuana: The legislature passed a prospective constitutional amendment that would allow adults in Maryland to use and possess marijuana — plus a companion bill to study cannabis use and previous impact of marijuana crimes in the state, and to provide incentives to women- and minority-owned businesses to enter the marijuana marketplace. Neither bill takes effect in full in July; the constitutional amendment will go up for consideration by voters this November.

Virginia

Government in Richmond is divided, and sometimes contentious, but the General Assembly still passed more than 700 bills in its regular session this spring. Deliberations over the state budget — which includes significant tax breaks for Virginians — came down to the wire in a special session in June, but ultimately concluded in a compromise between the Republican-led House, the Democrat-controlled Senate, and Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

Starting Friday, Virginians will start to feel the effects of all that bipartisan lawmaking. Here are some of the laws taking effect.

Schools: Education was a major focus politically on the gubernatorial campaign trail last fall, and in Youngkin’s first several months in office, so it’s no wonder that the schools were a big focus in Richmond this spring. The state budget funds educator raises and a bonus, and also makes a significant investment in school infrastructure. And the General Assembly passed other rules for schools, too, several of which take effect on Friday.

A new law directs the state Board of Education to develop example policies for schools notifying parents of sexually explicit content in classrooms, and offering alternatives for parents uncomfortable with their students learning the material. The Board’s deadline is the end of July; local schools must have their own specific policies in place by next January.

Colleges and universities will now have to conduct hazing prevention trainings with student organizations, and to update their policies about sexual violence to offer immunity to people who report hazing incidents.

Several new laws deal with school safety and schools’ interactions with law enforcement. School principals will now be required to report written threats against school personnel and misdemeanor offenses that occur on school grounds to police. It’s an intensification of current law, which only requires that principals report felonies. The law gives principals discretion on whether to report incidents when committed by students with disabilities.

Another new statute requires schools to ensure they have accurate and detailed floor plans for each school building. A third says school resource officers must be part of K-12 schools’ threat assessment teams, and, if the school doesn’t have a dedicated officer, that the local law enforcement agency dedicate one. Another law establishes requirements for school safety audits.

A new law prevents discrimination in admissions to Virginia’s much-sought-after Governor’s Schools. It also requires that the middle schools feeding students into these magnet schools offer coursework and instruction that will adequately prepare students for admission and success at Governor’s Schools.

Marijuana: Virginia lawmakers started the process of legalizing marijuana use in 2021, and it is currently legal for adults in the commonwealth to possess and cultivate small amounts of marijuana. But legislators have still not hammered out how to structure a legal marijuana marketplace, and they didn’t come up with any sweeping new breakthroughs on the issue during the session.

However, language in the state budget creates a new marijuana misdemeanor for adults who have more than four ounces but less than one pound with them in public. It’s punishable for a $500 fine for a first offense, and $1,000 fine and possible jail time after that. Currently, adults who posses between one ounce and a pound of marijuana may only be fined $25.

Medical marijuana users in Virginia will no longer have to register with the state, but they’ll still need a doctor’s approval.

Policing & Justice: Public safety and support for law enforcement has been another significant focus of the Youngkin administration. This year’s budget included pay increases for the Virginia State Police, local sheriff’s deputies, and correctional officers.

A new measure will allow law enforcement agencies in the commonwealth to use facial recognition technology, and puts in place guidelines for its use, including a requirement that software in use be accurate across demographic groups.

A package of laws — seven in total — seek to shape the commonwealth’s response to human trafficking, including creating training for hotel workers to identify signs, making non-Virginian human trafficking victims eligible for in-state tuition, and removes fee requirements for human trafficking victims seeking to have crimes committed while they were being trafficked expunged, if the person is unable to pay.

Health: While many pandemic restrictions have been gone in Virginia for more than a year, the legislature still passed quite a few measure that tweak how health care and public health emergencies play out in the commonwealth.

One bill that takes effect Friday extends the period where a health care provider who dies or becomes disabled as a result of COVID can file for worker’s compensation. It will now run until December 31, 2022.

Another bill creates a class of insurance policies — family leave insurance — that private insurers may offer to cover people’s income loss in the event of childbirth, adoption, care for a family member with a serious health condition, or military deployment of a family member.

Under a new statute, residents will be more protected from sudden eviction from assisted living facilities.

Lawmakers also passed a measure that requires hospitals to try to determine if uninsured patients qualify for state or hospital assistance programs to pay for their care — and it prevents them from trying to collect on a medical debt if they have not done so.  The law also directs hospitals to offer payment plans to patients.

The General Assembly is also requiring hospitals to publish standard prices for items and services on their websites — but that mandate won’t take effect until July 2023.

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