These new laws take effect in Virginia on July 1

Gov. Glenn Youngkin put his veto pen to good use this year, striking 201 measures that the Democrat-held legislature sent to his desk.

Many of the Democrats’ major priorities were killed off, such as a slew of gun safety bills and legislation to increase minimum wage and establish a legal market for cannabis. But the Republican governor also signed more than 800 measures into law, including bills to improve unemployment services and another that made Virginia the first state in the South to ban child marriage.

Here’s a list of some notable new laws taking effect July 1.

Alcoholic beverages

Businesses can continue offering delivery or take-out alcoholic beverages, a practice that began during the pandemic but was set to expire.

Child marriage

Virginia is the first Southern state to abolish child marriage for all minors. A new law establishes the legal age of marriage to be 18 years of age and eliminates the ability for a minor to be declared emancipated on the basis of their intent to marry.

Children accessing guns

A parent or caregiver who fails to prevent a minor from accessing their firearm will be guilty of a Class 5 felony if such child was charged or convicted of a violent juvenile felony, or if the adult had received notice of a preliminary determination that the child posed a threat of violence to themselves or others.

Failure to appear

Individuals cannot be penalized for failing to appear in court if the person is incarcerated or within custody of a law enforcement officer at the time they were required to appear.

Local government

Localities can increase annual salaries for mayors and city council members. New salary caps are based on population, and nearly double the maximum amount local elected officials can earn if cities vote to increase pay. Both Hampton and Portsmouth have approved salary hikes that will go into effect next fiscal year.

Toxic exposure

The Virginia Department of Fire Programs must convene a work group to research ways to provide health care support to local government employees who are exposed to toxins while responding to emergencies.


The Virginia Employment Commission must notify those who received nonfraudulent unemployment overpayments that they have 30 days to request a waiver. Nonfraudulent overpayments occur when an applicant is erroneously approved for unemployment, despite submitting a truthful application. The commission shall issue waivers if applicants were not at fault and demanding repayment would deprive them of the money needed for basic necessities.

The employment commission also now has a five-year statute of limitations for recouping nonfraudulent overpayments. The commission can also choose to waive overpayments in any situation where the agency determines it would be “administratively impracticable” to recover the money.

Mobile home parks

The owner of a mobile park must pay homeowners a $5,000 relocation fee if the owner sells the park and requires homeowners to move.

Tenant’s rights 

Victims of domestic or sexual abuse have the right to terminate a lease agreement early if they have a permanent protective order and need to move due to safety concerns.

Separately, landlords must clearly state fees that tenants are required to pay as part of their rental agreement.


Localities are allowed to establish public animal cruelty registries on their city websites so those selling or giving away animals can more easily research potential new owners. Registries can include the names and relevant information of individuals convicted of felony-level animal cruelty offenses.

Declawing cats is prohibited, unless the procedure is required for therapeutic purposes.

Prison reforms 

The use of attack canines will be limited in adult prisons and prohibited in juvenile facilities. A Business Insider investigation revealed Virginia prisons deployed patrol dogs to attack 271 incarcerated people from 2017-2022 — the most by far of any state.

Another law creates an ombudsman office to oversee the Virginia Department of Corrections. Among other duties, the ombudsman will monitor prison conditions and address complaints or concerns from inmates and their families.

Legacy admissions

State universities and colleges are prohibited from giving preferential treatment to an applicant because of their legacy status or their relation to a school donor.

Bathroom access

Retail stores with employee-only restrooms must allow customers with certain medical conditions, including Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome, to use the employees bathroom. Eligible customers who are denied can seek damages of up to $100.


Any deer, bear, turkey or elk that is killed in a vehicle collision can be claimed by any individual. The law previously only permitted deer or bear to be claimed by the driver of the vehicle.

All-terrain vehicles

Local governments can pass ordinances giving police the authority to seize and dispose of all-terrain vehicles or off-road motorcycles illegally operating on a highway or sidewalk within a city.

All Virginia drivers must have car insurance by July 1 as state drops uninsured fee

Farm vehicles

Unregistered farm-use vehicles must display a DMV-issued permanent farm-use placard on panel trucks, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating under 7,500 pounds. The law was passed in 2023, but provided a one year grace period for vehicle owners.

Katie King,