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Focus on Fairfax

July 1, 2021

Dear Friends and Neighbors,


As we get ready to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, I am happy to share with you the new laws that go into effect in Virginia on July 1.


Each year, the people’s representatives gather in Richmond (or virtually, as was the case this year) to introduce, debate, amend, and vote on legislation. While the 2021 General Assembly adjourned on March 1, most of the new laws go into effect on July 1. In all, 552 bills were signed into law by the Governor.


Each year, the Division of Legislative Services publishes "In Due Course," which provides a summary of legislation passed that is likely to impact the daily lives of Virginians.


This year, I am pleased that several bills where I was either the chief patron or a co-patron made the cut. 

My HB1879 allows restaurants to continue providing cocktails to-go through July 2022. This was a life-saver for many of our local restaurants. The bill establishes a work group to study whether this can be done permanently in a safe manner. I was also proud to serve as a co-patron for the Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back (G3) program (HB2204). This important job skills program provides financial assistance to low- and middle-income Virginia students seeking an associate-degree in a high-demand field.


Below is a sample of just some of the bills that go into effect today. I hope you will take the time to look through the full In Due Course. Also available is the 2021 Session Summary, which provides a complete list of bills introduced by subject area and whether they passed, failed, or were carried over.


SB1303 – Required five-day in-person learningRequires each school board to offer in-person instruction to each student enrolled in a public school starting with the 2021-22 school year.


HB1790 – Snow days. In the event of severe weather, allows a school system to declare an unscheduled remote learning day rather than having to close the system for a snow day.


SB1197 – Affordable housing tax credit. Establishes for taxable years 2021 through 2025 a housing opportunity tax credit to encourage private investment in the creation and preservation of affordable housing.


HB2040 – Unemployment assistance. Allows Virginians to continue receiving benefits if their case is appealed until a determination has been made on their case. Removes the requirement to repay benefits if a person, through no fault of their own, received incorrect benefits and cannot repay them.


SB1412 – Pet shops. Prohibits a person convicted of animal cruelty from working at a pet shop.


SB1417 – Animal testing facilities. Requires any animal testing facility that no longer has need for a dog or cat in its possession to offer such animal to an adoption program.


HB2266 – Outdoor refreshment areas. Allows for the designation of outdoor areas (such as a pedestrian mall or business district) where alcohol can be served year-round. Up until now, outdoor events where alcohol is served in public were limited to three days. Any such designation must be by local ordinance and approved by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. 


HB1936 – Robbery; penalties. Creates degrees of punishment for robbery corresponding to the severity of the offense. For example, a person committing robbery not involving a deadly weapon is guilty of a Class 6 felony (the lowest felony), while a person committing robbery while causing serious bodily injury or death is guilty of a Class 2 felony (20 years to life). Under the old law, any robbery was punishable by confinement not less than five years up to life.


HB2263 – Death penalty. Abolishes the death penalty in Virginia, including persons currently under a death sentence.


HB1919 – Local green banks. Authorizes a locality to establish a “green bank” to promote and finance clean energy technology.


HB1992 – Firearms; domestic assault/battery. Prohibits a person who has been convicted of assault and battery of a family or household member from purchasing, possessing, or transporting a firearm for three years.


HB1987 – Telemedicine. Requires the Board of Medical Assistance Services to update rules allowing for greater access to telemedicine for certain high-risk patients.


HB1842 – Smoking. Permits a property owners association to establish reasonable rules that restrict smoking (including tobacco and cannabis) in common areas and within attached private dwelling units where smoke can infiltrate surrounding units. Exceptions are made where the association declaration prohibits such regulation.


HB2219 – Freedom to choose your pharmacy. Provides that insurance companies and health care plans must allow covered individual to select their pharmacy of choice when filling prescriptions.


HB1778 – Removal of clutter. Allows localities to adopt ordinances requiring the removal of clutter from a property, except land zoned for active farming, after the governing body has provided reasonable notice. Clutter is defined in the new law.


HB1902 – Styrofoam containers. Phases out the use of polystyrene food service containers. Larger chain restaurants must stop using these containers by July 1, 2023. The ban applies to all food vendors by July 1, 2025.


HB2159 – Releasing balloons. Makes it unlawful for anyone age 16 years or older to intentionally release balloons into the air. Exceptions are made for biodegradable balloons. The law is aimed at large releases at events such as weddings or other celebrations. Balloons are a major source of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.


HB1801 – Litter fine. Increases the fine for disposing of litter or trash on public or private property from $250 to $500.


SB1130 – Motor vehicle of disabled veteran. Provides that one motor vehicle of a veteran who has a 100% service-connected, permanent, and total disability shall be exempt from local taxes. This law implements a constitutional amendment ratified by the voters in the 2020 general election.


HB2307 – Consumer Data Protection Act. Establishes a unified framework for controlling and processing personal data in Virginia. The law outlines responsibilities and privacy protection standards for large data controllers and processors. The law grants consumers the right to access and correct personal data and to opt out of using personal data for targeted advertising. 


HB2262 – Bicycle safety. Requires motor vehicles to change lanes when overtaking a bicycle if they cannot pass at least three feet to the left of the cyclist.


HB1888/HB1968 – Voting access. Requires localities to establish drop-off locations for absentee ballots and allows localities to offer in-person absentee voting on Sundays.


HB1965 – Clean cars. Establishes low-emission and zero-emission standards for vehicles staring in model year 2025.


HB1848 – Disability discrimination. Adds discrimination on the basis of disability as an unlawful discriminatory practice under the Virginia Human Rights Act.


HB2312 – Marijuana legalization. Adults 21 years and older are allowed to possess up to one ounce of cannabis for personal use and are allowed to grow up to four plants per household. Generally, use is allowed only in private residences. The legislation creates the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority, which is tasked with establishing a regulatory and licensing structure for the cultivation, manufacture, and sale of cannabis by 2024. For frequently asked questions, visit the Governor’s cannabis website.


There is a lot more in the online version! Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have thoughts or questions. It is an honor to represent you. Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Delegate David Bulova

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Fairfax Office

9900 Main Street, Plaza 102

Fairfax, Virginia 22031

(703) 310-6752


Richmond Office

(During General Assembly Session)

Capitol Square

Pocahontas Building

Room E204

Richmond, Virginia 23219

(804) 698-1037


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David Bulova

House of Delegates

37th District

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