If you live in Virginia, Maryland, or the District of Columbia, 2019 brought many new laws regarding traffic, healthcare, and straws.
Here's a rundown of the new laws that went into effect on January 1, all around the DMV.
Most of the new laws in the District are traffic-related. Commuters, be forewarned: if you drive more than 30 mph over the speed limit, you could be hit with criminal charges. The ante has also been raised for those caught speeding at 26 mph over the speed limit.
Watch for pedestrians and cyclists. If you pass another car stopped for a pedestrian, you could be fined $500 and get three points on your license. Motorists blocking a bike lane will be hit with more than double the fine ($150 from $65), and cyclists wearing headphones in both ears could get fined $50.
Another law aims to make it safer for pedestrians by reducing the speed limit to 15 mph near schools, athletic centers, playgrounds, pools, and senior centers.
Residents of the District must carry health insurance or else be subject to a penalty. Some residents may be eligible for waivers.
If you need to use a straw, you better bring one from home. Businesses are prohibited from offering plastic straws.
Maryland is requiring health insurance companies to pay for training, equipment, and supplies for pre-diabetic patients to monitor blood glucose levels. The law also extends to pregnant women who have higher glucose levels. Nutrition counseling is also covered under the new law. Another new law focuses on the treatment of lymphedema or chronic swelling of the lymph nodes.
Insurance companies will now be required to pay for fertility preservation for patients undergoing cancer treatments. Before the new law went into effect, patients had to pay out-of-pocket or rely on grants to pay for freezing semen, eggs, and other tissues. Another law allows providers to be reimbursed for educating patients on fertility and infertility periods with the goal of preventing pregnancy.
Political campaigns will not be allowed to use any funds that were obtained illegally.
The long-awaited expansion of Medicaid in Virginia began on Jan.1. The law ensures that health insurance is provided to 400,000 people by raising the eligibility to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. For the first time ever, low-income adults without children are also eligible.
The Jefferson Davis Highway (a portion of U.S.1) in Alexandria, VA, is being renamed the Richmond Highway.
Which one of these laws surprised you the most? Tell us in the comments below!