New Laws Take Effect July 1, 2023

Here is a summary of 35 of new Virginia laws that take effect on Saturday.


Sale of Farm Land to China

Prohibits China or any "foreign adversary" from purchasing agricultural land in the Commonwealth of Virginia.


Universal Occupational Licensing

Makes it easier for individuals to qualify for a Virginia occupational license if they have met licensing standards in another state.

Sexual Harassment and Non-Disclosure Agreements

Prevents employers from requiring employees to sign NDAs with the purpose of concealing a sexual harassment claim, and voids any NDA that attempts to do so.

Minimum Wage for Employees With Disabilities

Requires employees with disabilities hired after July 1, 2023 to be paid the state minimum wage. Employees with disabilities hired before that date and who were subject to an exemption to the minimum wage will see a phased increase in wages over the next seven years.

Department of Workforce Development and Advancement

Consolidates various workforce development and apprenticeship programs under the administration of a new agency, the Department of Workforce Development and Advancement.


Regulation of THC Products

Imposes additional regulation of hemp-derived products that contain intoxicating THC. Includes a permitting system, stricter labeling rules and limits the level of THC in retail hemp products.

Cannabis Advertising Restrictions

Prohibits advertising of cannabis and related products, including synthetic THC, unless those products are legal for sale in Virginia. Includes restrictions on advertising that targets minors.

Courts/Civil Law

Jury Duty Pay

Increases the jury duty allowance from $30 to $50 per day.

Criminal Justice

Sexual Extortion

Makes it a felony to threaten to publicize nude photos of a person in order to coerce them into performing sexual acts.

Curfew During Civil Disturbance

Allows local law enforcement chiefs to declare a curfew under certain circumstances during a civil disturbance. The curfew may not last longer than 24 hours without approval from the local governing body, and must specify the time of curfew and the area covered.

Counsel for Indigent Defendants

Requires courts to appoint two attorneys to represent indigent defendants charged with a Class 1 felony, including first-degree murder.

Solitary Confinement

Restricts the use of solitary confinement and requires that anyone subject to solitary confinement receive a minimum of four hours of activities out of their cell per day.

Catalytic Converters

Creates a presumption that someone not in the auto repair business who is in possession of a catalytic converter that has been removed from a motor vehicle is guilty of theft.

Criminalizes False 911 Reports

Persons who make false reports of an emergency can be charged with a felony if the emergency response results in serious harm or death.

Public Transportation Drivers

Creates a specific law outlawing assault and battery against public transportation drivers. Conviction includes a ban from public transportation for at least 6 months.

Fentanyl as "Weapon of Terrorism"

Adds the manufacture or distribution of fentanyl-laced products to the state law banning "weapons of terrorism."


Teacher Arrests

Requires state law enforcement agencies to notify school systems within 48 hours of the arrest of a school employee for a felony or Class 1 misdemeanor. School systems must designate an employee to receive such reports.

Notification of Bullying

Requires schools to inform parents within 24 hours if their child is involved in an alleged bullying incident.

Threat Assessment Teams

Requires threat assessment teams at institutions of higher education to report certain threats to campus police, local law enforcement and the local Commonwealth's Attorney.

Brown v. Board Scholarships

Extends eligibility for the Brown v. Board of Education Scholarship Program to the descendants of people who lived in jurisdictions in Virginia where public schools were closed to avoid desegregation between 1954 and 1964 and whose educations were affected by the school closings.


Absentee Ballots

Removes the witness signature requirement on mail ballots and instead requires those voting by mail to provide the last four digits of their Social Security number.


Firearm Safety Tax Credit

Creates an income tax credit of up to $300 for the purchase of firearm safety devices, including gun safes and locks, for taxable years 2023 through 2027.


Removes switchblade knives from the list of concealed weapons that are prohibited from being carried in public. Adds stiletto knives to the prohibited list.



Requires public bodies to list fee assessments and pricing for Freedom of Information Act requests, either on their website or in a written policy.

Parole Board Disclosure

Removes provisions that exempted certain records related to Parole Board deliberations and decisions from disclosure under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.

Governor's Powers

Right to Worship

In emergency declarations, prohibits the governor from imposing closures or limitations on places of worship that are more restrictive than those placed on businesses and secular organizations.



Removes requirement that health care providers maintain a physical presence in the Commonwealth to be eligible to serve Medicaid patients.

Hearing Aids for Children

Requires health insurance providers to cover hearing aids for minors, when recommended by a doctor.

Historic Resources

"Green Book" Sites

Requires the Department of Historic Resources and other government agencies to create historic site signs identifying locations and businesses in the Commonwealth that were safe for traveling Black Americans during the Jim Crow era.


Tenant Rights

Allows tenants to end their lease and receive a full refund of all deposits and rent paid if the premises contain serious health or safety risks that existed at the beginning of residency.

Local Housing Policies

Requires the Department of Housing and Community Development to conduct a housing needs assessment for the state every five years, along with a housing plan. Also requires localities to submit annual reports listing changes to housing policies.


Pornography Age Verification

Requires pornographic websites to verify the age of users and prevent children under the age of 18 from accessing pornography.


Towing Operator Fees

Requires towing and recovery operators to allow the owner of a towed vehicle to retrieve personal items without paying a fee.

Blue Headlights

Prohibits the use of blue headlights on motor vehicles.


SCC Control of Dominion Energy Rates

Strengthens the State Corporation Commission's authority to review the earnings of electric utilities and to adjust rates paid by electric customers downward if utility earning exceeds established ranges. Previously, utilities could keep some profits that exceeded the upper range. The SCC authority takes effect for rate reviews starting in 2024.

Sources: Virginia Division of Legislative Services. New laws selected from among those highlighted in DLS' report "In Due Course", and VPAP research of bills with contested votes.

June 30, 2023