WASHINGTON — Starting July 1, new laws go into effect in Virginia, Maryland and the District. The regulations include rules about social media, drones, transportation, and wages.
- Employers cannot require workers or job applicants to disclose their social media usernames or passwords. They can’t force employees to friend them on Facebook either.
- Police must obtain a warrant before using drones in an investigation.
- Uber, Lyft and other transportation network companies must conduct criminal and sex offender background checks on all drivers, including a driving history report. The ride-sharing companies also must pay a $100,000 licensing fee up front and $60,000 annually to renew their licenses.
- Colleges must report sexual violence to law enforcement when an investigation begins and make a note on the transcripts of students who are suspended or expelled for those crimes.
- VRE fares are higher. Some riders will pay up to 45 cents more per trip.
- Drivers can cross the double yellow lines to pass pedestrians and cyclists. But drivers can get a ticket for following bicycles, motorized wheelchairs or other non-cars too closely.
- Virginia now grants civil immunity to anyone who breaks into a car to help save a child as long as the person has tried to call 911.
- Mothers can now breast-feed in public.
- Restaurants will now be required to follow training standards on food allergy awareness and safety.
- Veterans can get credit for military training courses that relate to their college coursework requirements.
• Drivers will pay lower tolls on state roads and bridges. The $6 cash toll to cross the Bay Bridge will drop to $4. The discount for E-Zpass holders will increase from 10 percent to 25 percent for the Baltimore Harbor and Fort McHenry tunnels, the Francis Scott Key Bridge and the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge.
• The so-called “rain tax” has been repealed.
• The gas tax will increase from 2 percent to 3 percent, about 2 cents per gallon more.
• The state will study the risks and benefits of drones.
• Ridesharing companies like Uber will be regulated by the Maryland Public Service Commission. Drivers will be required to be fingerprinted.
• The minimum wage increases to $8.25 from $8. It is set to go up again to $8.75 in 2016 and $9.25 in 2017. It is scheduled to reach $10.10 in 2018.
• MTA commuter bus routes expands in Prince George’s County, Anne Arundel County and the District.
• The minimum wage becomes one of the highest in the nation: $10.50. Next July, it will rise to $11.50.
WTOP’s Max Smith contributed to this report.
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