New year brings new laws to the commonwealth

VA Governor Ralph Northam led the commonwealth through many law-changes.
VA Governor Ralph Northam led the commonwealth through many law-changes.(WHSV)
Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 5:15 PM EST
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - As we get ready to turn our calendars to 2022, new laws are on the horizon, and there are a handful of changes set for the commonwealth.

The new legislation includes everything from a minimum wage increase to questions on college applications.

Minimum Wage Increase

One of the bigger laws going into effect is the raise in minimum wage. Right now, the commonwealth’s minimum wage is set at $9.50/hour.

That will change in 2022, when it rises to $11/hour, and it’s set to rise to $15 in 2026. The national minimum wage is $7.25.

Minimum Insurance Coverage Increase

The minimum insurance coverage for drivers is set to increase as well. Drivers will be required to have $30,000 minimum coverage for the death or injury of one person, and $60,000 for two or more.

Previously, drivers in Virginia had to have $25,000 worth of coverage for the death or injury of one person, and $50,000 for two or more.

“No Surprise Act”

People in the commonwealth will be hit with fewer shocking emergency room bills. The “No Surprise Act” says healthcare providers are not able to charge you out-of-network prices for an emergency, since you don’t choose where you go.

That’s a national law that adds to Virginia’s pre-existing version, which doesn’t cover everyone.

“Humane Cosmetics Act”

Virginia became the fourth state to ban cosmetics testing on animals. The “Humane Cosmetics Act” says companies cannot test on animals, and it bans the sale of cosmetics that aren’t cruelty-free.

PETA reports many brands are not considered “cruelty-free,” including Mary Kay and Maybelline.

Criminal History on College Applications

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam ceremoniously signed legislation that removes questions about criminal history from college applications. Some institutions are excluded from the new rule, including places like Virginia Military Institute and post-graduate law school options.

Voting Time and Registration Shifts

In 2022, primary elections will shift from the second Tuesday in June to the third. The same bill changes the deadline for filing nomination and candidacy papers for an office determined by a November election from the second Tuesday to the third Tuesday in June.

Additionally, in October 2022, 16-year-olds in the state will be able to pre-register to vote. It doesn’t allow them to vote, but just pre-register so they’re able to vote by their 18th birthday.

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