Following up from last week’s newsletter, I wanted to update voters on further legislation passed the 2022 session which is a law in the Commonwealth as of 1 July.
Marcus alert system
Marcus Post Alert System. (HB1191/SB361) – Small localities are allowed to opt out of “Marcus Alert,” a measure passed in 2020 aimed at improving response to mental health and behavioral emergencies.
The law required localities to implement a system that required mental health professionals to join law enforcement when responding to incidents in which people had a mental health crisis.
An amendment to the law was agreed this year to give communities of less than 40,000 residents the option not to participate, citing cost concerns and a shortage of behavioral health workers in smaller areas. Of Virginia’s 133 districts, 89 have fewer than 40,000 residents.
Monitor alcoholic beverages. Delivery of alcoholic beverages. third party delivery license; Container. (HB426/SB254) – Creates a third-party license that allows the holder to deliver alcoholic beverages purchased from a business with a Virginia Alcohol Control Authority license.
casino games the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in casino gaming establishments; Casino Staff Betting, Accounting, and Gaming (HB455/SB519) – Creates a new mixed drink casino license for on-site consumption during all operating hours and allowing the licensee to give gifts of alcoholic beverages to customers and create loyalty or rewards programs.
Monitor alcoholic beverages. Transportation of alcoholic beverages. (HB325) – Increasing the number of alcoholic beverages a person may carry into the Commonwealth from one to three gallons and unifying existing law regarding the transportation of alcoholic beverages into or within the Commonwealth.
Pharmaceutical Remedies (HB933/SB671) – Amends the definition of “hemp oil” by removing the requirement that synthetic hemp oil be used only in the formulation of hemp oil. The bill removes the requirement for patients to register with the Board of Pharmacy for medical cannabis, but maintains the requirement for patients to obtain an affidavit from a health care provider for medical cannabis.
The change will allow medical cannabis patients to purchase marijuana products from dispensaries after obtaining certification from a registered practitioner. On top of allowing them to avoid waiting for board authorization, a process that could take months, the law would also allow patients not to pay a $50 application fee.
sexually explicit material
Civil Action for Posting Sexually Explicit Visual Material to Another Person (SB493) – states that a person 18 years of age or older intentionally transmits an intimate image, as specified in the invoice, by computer or other electronic means to a computer or electronic . The communication device of another person who is 18 years of age or older when that other person does not agree to use their computer or electronic communication device to receive such material or expressly prohibits receipt of such material is an infringement and shall be liable to the recipient of the image intimate for actual damages or $500, whichever is greater, plus attorneys’ fees and reasonable cost.
The United Treasury Department has announced that Virginia is one of four states that will receive funds to expand access to high-speed internet in rural areas under the US bailout’s coronavirus capital projects fund. The Commonwealth will receive $219 million.
The funding will expand access to broadband in an estimated 76,873 locations. About 28% of Virginia areas do not have access to high-quality broadband, affecting Commonwealth farmers and rural residents.
Local governments that are in partnership with Internet service providers can apply for funding through a grant program administered by the Virginia Communications Initiative.
Beginning July 16, Virginia residents can call or text 988 to connect with trained counselors who are part of the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The current phone number (1-800-273-8255) will still be available, but stakeholders hope the three-digit code will make help easier with the goal of answering 95 percent of calls from Virginia phone numbers within 20 seconds.
CrisisLink operates one of the two centers that serve the Commonwealth. Out-of-state numbers will not be routed to centers located in Virginia initially, as this will require additional federal approval, but those who need additional services will eventually be connected to in-state providers.
Most 988 calls can be resolved over the phone, but some require more intensive personal services. The state’s response to the mobile crisis is still in its very early stages, which means law enforcement will likely continue to play a role in the most serious mental health calls for the foreseeable future.
Del. Jim Matthew Paris Buckingham, Virginia represents the House of Delegates. His email address is DelMFariss@house.virginia.gov.