HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — 2021 is finally here, and with the new year comes new laws throughout Virginia. The Virginia General Assembly passed several bills in 2020 that go into effect Friday, January 1.
Here’s a quick rundown:
- Conceal carry permits: Anyone looking to get a conceal carry permit in Virginia will now have to take an in-person class instead of an online course. Getting the training in person allows people to work one-on-one with someone and ask questions, something an online course could not offer. You can learn more about the law here.
- Hands-free while driving: It is now illegal to hold a cell phone while driving. While the law was originally passed in July, the General Assembly gave a six-month grace period to educate drivers about the change. Having a cell phone in your hand while driving is now a primary offense, and police officers can pull you over. For a first offense, you’ll receive a $150 fine, and the fine will increase for repeated offenses. You can read more about the hand-held phone ban here and here.
- Protection from surprise medical bills: This new law aims to protect you from surprise medical bills that typically happen when a patient with a health insurance plan gets billed more than they are supposed to because of an out-of-network technicality. According to the State Corporation Commission, the law works by requiring insurers and providers to resolve billing disputes together, rather than just sending you a bill. It also requires medical providers to notify you about surprise billing protection. You can learn more here.
- Cost of insulin: Virginia-regulated health insurance companies will also no longer be able to increase the cost of insulin due to House Bill 66, which limits the charge of a 30-day supply of insulin to $50. Click here to learn more.
- Employers face penalties if they misclassify workers and independent contractors: The new law states that all workers will be considered employees unless the work demonstrates they are a contractor.
- Driver privilege cards to non-U.S. citizens go into effect on Saturday, Jan. 2: You are eligible to obtain a driver privilege card if you are a non-U.S. citizen who is a resident of Virginia, have reported income from Virginia sources or are claimed as a dependent on a tax return filed in Virginia in the past 12 months and do not have a driving privilege that is currently suspended or revoked. Learn more here and here.