New Virginia laws going into effect on January 1, 2024

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a few new laws that will go into effect on January 1, 2024.   

Some of them will have major implications for residents. Others, won't mean much until the General Assembly does some fine-tuning.  

Since you're a law-abiding citizen who likes to stay in the know, FOX 5 has put together a list of the changes happening in the Commonwealth in 2024.  


Virginia General Assembly churned through hundreds of bills on 'crossover' day

The politically divided Virginia General Assembly churned through hundreds of bills Tuesday as it approached a key deadline for the year's legislative session.

Virginia joins Counseling Compact 

Back in March, Governor Glenn Youngkin signed HB 1433/SB 802 into law, making Virginia the 20th state to join the Counseling Compact. The legislation authorizes Virginia to become a signatory to the Counseling Compact, which allows eligible licensed professional counselors to practice in other Compact member states – as long as they are licensed in at least one of the member states. 

At the time, the Virginia Counselors Association released a statement saying it was "thrilled" with the enactment of HB 1433/SB 802. 

"This is a huge success for the VCA advocacy team and our members who advocated tirelessly for the bills’ passage. We are celebrating years of dedication and hard work to reach this goal," the organization said. 

HB 1433/SB 802 also directs Virginia's Board of Counseling to develop emergency regulations to implement the provisions of the law that will go into effect as the new year begins. 

What is the Counseling Compact? 

The Counseling Compact was created in December 2020 by the American Counseling Association. The goal was to create a pathway for counselors to treat patients across multiple states through an agreement among states to accept another state's license. In the past, counselors have had trouble transferring their licenses from one state to another because of respective licensing rules and regulations. 

According to its website, the Counseling Compact lets professional counselors who meet uniform licensure requirements quickly obtain the privilege to practice in another state.

RICHMOND, VA - APRIL 16: The Virginia State Capitol is pictured on April 16, 2020 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Health Care Provider Panels

HB 2354 brings significant changes to healthcare insurance policies, especially in situations where a healthcare provider is removed from a health insurance carrier's network. The new law aims to ensure a smoother transition and continuity of care for patients, particularly during critical health phases or treatments, even when changes occur in their insurance network.

Here's what it means for policyholders:

  • Insurance carriers must now inform policyholders if their current healthcare provider, or one they've seen in the past six months, is no longer part of the carrier's network. This notification should be given before the provider's removal, except in cases where the provider is being removed for a specific cause.
  • Continuity of Care: If your healthcare provider is removed from the insurance network, you have the right to continue receiving care from them for at least 90 days after their removal. This rule has exceptions, such as when the provider is removed for cause.
  • Pregnancy: If you are confirmed to be pregnant at the time of your provider's removal, you can continue receiving care from them through the postpartum period.
  • Life-threatening Conditions: For those with a life-threatening condition at the time of the provider's removal, care can continue with the same provider for up to 180 days.
  • Inpatient Treatment: If you're admitted and receiving treatment in a facility when your provider is removed, you can continue care with them until you're discharged.


Future for recreational marijuana use in Virginia seems inevitable, but uncertain

Virginia medical marijuana patients and providers say they're happy with a new state law making it easier to access medical cannabis as the Commonwealth moves towards the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Recreational weed legal in Virginia

Thanks to the Virginia Cannabis Control Act, retail marijuana sales are legal as of January 1, 2024. Well, sort of. 

The CCA was passed in 2021 under Democratic Governor Ralph Northam. However, several parts of the legislation still needed to be ratified by the General Assembly.

 Three years later, there's still no framework for cannabis retail sales in the Commonwealth, and many of the provisions in the Act are just lofty plans that need to be hashed out by state lawmakers. 

HB 1598/SB 788 does transfer oversight of Virginia's medical cannabis program from the Board of Pharmacy to the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority. The Authority will be responsible for creating a regulatory structure for the sale of retail marijuana and marijuana products. When they will take up the task is still unclear. According to its site, the CCA is currently focused on "implementing a health, safety, and safe driving campaign and developing guidance to ensure compliant home cultivation of marijuana plants that protects minors and discourages the creation of a public nuisance."