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12.30.21 – WJLA – ARLINGTON, Va. (7News)

As of New Year’s Day, some new laws take effect in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. And that brings some good news and some bad news, depending on your perspective.

Most of the new local and state laws passed in 2021 went into effect on July 1 or Oct. 1, but some were set for Jan. 1, 2022, or later.

Virginia and Maryland will have new minimum wage rates and a new plastic bag tax can be collected in Virginia cities and counties.

In Virginia, speed cameras come to Arlington, car insurance goes up, and Jefferson Davis Highway gets a new name.


Minimum wage: Virginia’s minimum wage increases from $9.50 to $11 per hour, another step toward reaching $15 per hour by Jan. 2026.

Renaming Jefferson Davis Highway: As of Jan. 1, any section of Route 1 currently named Jefferson Davis Highway will be renamed as Emancipation Highway.

Speed cameras: Arlington has approved speed cameras in school and highway construction zones beginning in January after the General Assembly authorized municipalities to implement cameras on July 1.

Motor vehicle liability insurance: Minimum car insurance coverage will increase from $25,000 to $30,000 for injury or death to one person and from $50,000 to $60,000 for injury or death to two or more people. Those premiums will increase to $50,000 and $100,00 on Jan. 1, 2025.

Bag tax: Grocery stores, drugstores and convenience stores in the counties of Fairfax and Arlington and the cities of Alexandria, Fredericksburg and Roanoke will be collecting a new 5-cent tax for each disposable plastic bag they provide to their customers.

Cosmetics testing on animals: The Humane Cosmetics Act bans testing on animals in the making of cosmetics in Virginia. It also bans the sales of cosmetics that have been tested on animals.

Local elections: All local elections in Virginia will be moved from May to November in 2022.

For more on Virginia legislation that takes effect in 2022, see the list below, provided by the General Assembly.

Virginia laws effective Jan 1 by ABC7News Members of the Maryland House of Delegates meet in the house chamber in Annapolis, Md., Monday, April 9, 2018, the final day of the state’s 2018 legislative session. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)


Most of Maryland’s new laws went into effect in July or October. Many others will begin in April or later in 2022.

Minimum wage: Maryland’s minimum wage will increase on Jan.1 from $11.75 per hour to $12,50 per hour for employers with 15 or more employees, and from $11.60/hour to $12.20/hour for employers with 14 or fewer employees.

As in Virginia, Maryland’s minimum will reach $15 per hour by Jan. 2026.

Maryland Medical Assistance Program: Beginning in 2022, the Maryland Medical Assistance Program will be required to provide pregnant program recipients with comprehensive medical, dental, and other health care services during pregnancy and for one year after a woman’s pregnancy ends.

SEE MORE | For more on Maryland legislation that takes effect in 2022, the General Assembly provides this list.DC Council (7News)

The District

Gas-powered leaf blowers: Beginning New Year’s Day, it will be illegal to buy, sell, or use gas-powered leaf blowers in the District of Columbia. Violators will be subject to a $500 fine. Individuals and lawn maintenance companies will be restricted to electric leaf blowers. D.C. has a rebate program to help make the switch to electric.

Rent increase moratorium: The District’s pandemic-related rent increase moratorium ends on Dec. 31.

Amnesty on parking tickets and minor moving violations: Also ending Dec. 31 will be the District’s amnesty program on penalties for residents with outstanding parking tickets and minor moving violations.