New laws will come into effect in the DC area on Saturday, January 1, 2022 relating to plastic bags, leaf blowers, disposable utensils, auto insurance and more. Here’s a preview.
New laws in Washington, DC
Gasoline leaf blowers: In an effort to reduce noise, the use and sale of gasoline-powered leaf blowers will be banned in the district from January 1, 2022. A new law states that any person or business caught using the one of the leaf blowers can be fined up to $ 500.
Violations can be reported to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Video and audio evidence of violations may be submitted but will not be required.
Discounts for residential and commercial electrical equipment are available. Go here for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.
Disposable utensils and catering waste: DC restaurants will be prohibited from automatically distributing disposable utensils, napkins, and condiment packages with orders, effective January 1, 2022. Restaurants and other “catering entities” must distribute these items on demand or have them in a store-service area so that customers can pick them up. Requirements apply to in-person, online and mobile orders. Go here for more information.
Entry requirement for vaccination: Later this month, starting January 15, DC will require people aged 12 and over to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to enter restaurants, bars and nightclubs. As News4 previously reported, the requirement will apply to cinemas, concert halls, gymnasiums, yoga studios and shared work facilities. Go here to see Mayor Muriel Bowser’s order.
New laws in Maryland
Minimum wage: The minimum wage in Maryland will go up. On January 1, the rate will drop to $ 12.50 for people working for employers with 15 or more employees. It will increase to $ 12.20 for those working for employers with 14 or fewer employees.
Organ donation: Maryland residents who elect to be organ donors when registering for their driver’s license on or after July 1, 2022 will have the ability to decide whether they want their organs to be used for research and education or for transplantation and therapy. Motor vehicle administration locations must provide drivers with information about each choice. All organs donated before July 1 from previously registered donors can only be used for transplantation or therapy.
Genetic counselors: A new law requires the Maryland Board of Physicians to licensed genetic counselor and to establish a genetic counseling advisory committee within the board of directors. Genetic counselors give patients and families information about genetic testing and how genetic diseases might affect them.
New laws in Virginia
Minimum wage: Statewide, the minimum hourly wage will be increase to $ 11 per hour January 1, 2022.
Special ID for undocumented residents: Beginning January 3, undocumented residents of Virginia can apply for a special ID card from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Undocumented children are also eligible to receive ID. The legislation was sponsored by Del. Elizabeth Guzmán.
In January 2021, undocumented drivers in Virginia became eligible to apply for a special driver’s license called a driver’s privilege card. It is estimated that more than 300,000 people could benefit from it. Read more here.
Plastic bag tax: Locally, the City of Alexandria, Arlington County and Fairfax County have passed a 5-cent tax on disposable plastic shopping bags like those found in grocery stores, convenience stores and drugstores. The tax will affect buyers and go into effect in all three jurisdictions on January 1, 2022.
The revenues collected will help finance “cleaning up the environment, providing education programs designed to reduce environmental waste and mitigate pollution and waste.” The law does not prohibit plastic bags.
Calendar of local elections: Statewide, municipal elections for city council and school board in Virginia will be moved from May to November, starting with elections held after January 1, 2022.
Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act: Is your house at risk of flooding? Virginia homeowners who know their property is a ‘repetitive risk loss structure’“must disclose this fact to the buyer of his home using a form provided by the Real Estate Board.
The state defines the “recurring risk loss structure” as any home that has two or more claims over $ 1,000 that have been paid by the National Flood Insurance Program since 1978.
Inhalers in public schools: Schools in Virginia are going to change the way they treat students with asthma.
In the new year, local school boards are required to create and adopt policies that allow certain school employees to administer albuterol inhalers to the students “in good faith believed they needed such drugs”. By law, those who administer the drug will be exempt from all liability.
Students with asthma or anaphylaxis, or both, will also be allowed to own and self-administer “inhaled asthma medication or self-injectable epinephrine.”
Automobile liability insurance: Liability insurance coverage amounts will be increased for policies in effect between January 1, 2022 and January 1, 2025.
Coverage amounts will be increased from $ 25,000 to $ 30,000 for “personal injury or death of a person.” And from $ 50,000 to $ 60,000 in “cases of bodily injury or death of two or more persons”. Amount details can be found here.