Virginia state capitol building (Photo courtesy: Thinkstock/Sean Pavone)
Ethics reform in the wake of the Bob and Maureen McDonnell corruption convictions dominated the 2015 General Assembly. What eventually landed on Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s desk was a weaker — some might say toothless — version of what the governor initially sought. But lawmakers made progress elsewhere, and new legislation will go into effect July 1. Here are a few laws that caught our eye.
NO MORE SILENCE
State university employees now are required to report knowledge of an alleged sexual assault to police within 48 hours of finding out. Failure to do so could result in a misdemeanor charge.
ENTERING THE 21ST CENTURY
The Commonwealth joins the rest of modern America — minus Idaho — in allowing a mother to breastfeed her baby in public.
Farmers in Varina may have a new cash crop. Amid reassurances that industrial hemp wouldn’t get Virginians high — and would help the economy — lawmakers legalized production of the plant.
Lawmakers took on opiate overdoses by providing greater prescription access to Naloxone, a medicine that counters the effects of opiates. The state’s first responders also will be equipped with the medication.
GO FORTH AND INVEST
The next frontier for crowdfunding. Entrepreneurs now can raise up to $2 million annually through equity crowdfunding, which gives investors a stake in a budding business venture. Investors must also be Virginians and stakes are limited to $10,000 or less.