Notable new laws in Maryland and Virginia taking effect in 2018

Out with the old and in with the new! The year of 2017 may be over, but there is a slew of new laws that are going into effect this New Year's Day 2018 in both Maryland and Virginia.

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it is very easy to lose track of exactly what new laws kicked into gear when 2018 arrived. We are here to break down what you need remember in Maryland and Virginia.

Maryland updates residential smoke alarm law

There is an important change in how to protect your home in Maryland. As of Jan. 1, Maryland residents are required to replace their old 9-volt battery-powered smoke detectors. In their place, the new law says they have to be swapped out for longer lasting smoke detectors with sealed-in batteries.

It's not only the law but it's also a good idea as smoke detectors with sealed batteries last about a decade - meaning you will not have to remember to swap batteries twice a year.

Maryland Personal Information Protection Act

2017 was a big year in cyber hacking and personal information being stolen. Starting in 2018, all Maryland businesses are required by a new law to protect the personal information of customers, employees and former employees. From now on, if a Maryland business does get hacked, they will be required to notify individuals in a timely manner.

Birth control supply in Virginia

Virginia also has some new laws going into effect and one of them involves access to birth control. Before 2018, if a woman in Virginia wanted to buy birth control bills, she could only get enough to last a few months. Starting Jan. 1, women can now purchase a year's supply of birth control.

Coins, gold, silver, platinum sales tax exemptions in Virginia

On the opposite end of the spectrum, 2018 is bringing some good news to coin collectors in Virginia. Starting on the first day of 2018, coin collectors in the commonwealth will no longer have to pay a sales tax on transactions more than $1,000. Also, another sales tax break on gold, silver and platinum is also being extended until 2022.

Property taxes

The start of 2018 also means it is a new tax year. You have probably heard how some people rushed to pre-pay their property taxes before the end of 2017. However, the IRS now says those pre-payed taxes may only be deductible from your federal taxes in limited circumstances.