New landlord-tenant laws, foster care reform, and restored driver’s licenses: new Virginia laws take effect July 1

Monday, July 1st, 2019

Today, hundreds of new laws that passed during this year’s General Assembly go into effect, from new landlord-tenant laws to foster care reform. Here are a few to note.

Other New Laws Related to VPLC Focus Areas

Medicaid and Mental Health: An adopted budget increases reimbursements for Medicaid primary care physicians and licensed mental health providers, including psychiatrists. Funding is also increased for community mental health services and systems.

Insurance Coverage of Autism: New legislation requires insurance coverage for diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder for people of any age. The current limit is age 10.

Reduction of Step Therapy Requirements: Consumers will be able to get necessary medications without first having to resort to other, cheaper medications.

Prohibited “Accumulator” Provisions in Health Plans: Insurance plans are required to accept coupons and other third-party payments to meet insurance deductibles.

Telemedicine: New legislation expands availability of telemedicine services (both Medicaid and private) to improve access to health services in rural areas.

Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect: Clergy—ministers, priests, rabbis, imams, and other religious practitioners—must report child abuse and neglect, except in instances where the information supporting the suspicion of child abuse or neglect is required by the doctrine of the religious organization to be kept secret.

Employment Contracts May Not Conceal Sexual Assault Claims: Employers cannot require employees or respective employees to execute or renew any provision in a nondisclosure or confidentiality agreement that intends or has the effect of concealing details relating to sexual assault claims as a condition of employment.

Adding Consent to Family Life Education: Any high school family life education curriculum offered by a local school division is required to incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the law and meaning of consent.

Making the Connection Between Cruelty to Animals and Intimate Partner Violence: Raises the penalty for cruelty to animals from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony.

Raising Penalty for Cruelty to Certain Companion Animals: Some abusers use threats or actually harm victims’ dogs or cats in order to manipulate their victims. Before this change in the law, the dog or cat would have had to die before the abuser could be charged with a felony. The new law raises the penalty for cruelty to a dog or cat companion animal from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony.

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