LIST: New laws going into effect Wednesday in Tennessee and Virginia

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — As June comes to a close and lawmakers in Tennessee and Virginia head home from sessions, new laws prepare to go into effect in both states.

Both states passed new laws, some of which will be going into effect at the start of July.

Other laws will take longer to be put into practice, like Virginia’s new law prohibiting cell phone usage while driving.

Below is a list of prominent laws passed in both Tennessee and Virginia:

Tennessee

  • Abortion restrictions – Lawmakers in the Tennessee House and Senate passed bills banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. It was signed by Governor Bill Lee, which quickly sparked the filing of a lawsuit against the state from the American Civil Liberties Union.
  • “Slow poke” law – Tennessee’s “slow poke” law now applies to divided highways with two or more lanes in each direction.

Virginia

  • Abortion restrictions – Virginia Democrats passed measures removing the previously required 24-hour waiting period prior to an abortion. Women seeking an abortion no longer have to receive an ultrasound or counseling.
  • Casino approvals – Lawmakers approved bills that would allow casino gambling in five Virginia localities, including Bristol.
  • Removal of Confederate statues – Governor Ralph Northam ordered the removal Robert E. Lee’s statue from Richmond’s Monument Avenue and lawmakers passed legislation in February to give local governments the authority to remove or relocate other Confederate monuments.
  • Gun laws – Legislation signed by Northam includes bills requiring background checks on all firearm sales, establishing a red flag law in Virginia and reinstating the state’s one-handgun-a-month policy.
  • Elections – Election Day was made a state holiday, early voting was expanded and Photo IDs will now no longer be required when voting in Virginia.
  • Marijuana decriminalization – Starting July 1, anyone caught with marijuana would just pay a $25 civil penalty in Virginia.
  • Cell phones while driving – Back in February, lawmakers passed measures prohibiting motorists from using their cell phones while driving. The law was passed by the House of Delegates and Senate and is expected to take effect January 1, 2021.
  • Insulin cost — Lawmakers passed a bill that caps insurance co-pays for a monthly supply of insulin at $50. This will apply to health plans and provider contracts entered into, amended, extended, or renewed on or after January 1, 2021.

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