New Virginia laws go into effect July 1

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A host of new Virginia state laws go into effect Tuesday, including new rules that allow hunting on Sundays, a repeal of a tax on hybrid cars and a string of regulations governing emergency treatment for the mentally ill.

Legislation passed earlier this year by the General Assembly and signed by Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe becomes law on July 1.

Virginia law had previously deemed Sunday a day of rest for wild birds and animals, and hunting was banned. Proponents of the measure allowing hunting said Virginia's old law was outdated and unnecessarily hurting the state's economy. Opponents of Sunday hunting said the ban made it safer for nature lovers who don't hunt to get outdoors.

Also, a series of measures aimed at improving the state's emergency treatment of the mentally ill goes into effect. The laws were passed after the suicide of Sen. R. Creigh Deeds' son.

The Bath County Democrat was attacked in November by Gus Deeds after the younger Deeds was released from an emergency custody order hours earlier. A local community services board said it was unable to locate an available psychiatric bed in the area within the six hours allotted by law.

Under new laws, the time allotted for finding a bed was extended to 12 hours. And after eight hours of searching, if no private beds can be found, a state hospital will now be required to admit those under an emergency custody order.

Virginia is also reducing the number of standardized exams, called Standards of Learning tests, middle and elementary school students have to take from 22 to 17.

And the state will now require new state textbooks note that the Sea of Japan is also known as the East Sea. The legislation was the result of intense lobbying by the state's large Korean-American community, which the Japanese government strongly opposed.

Also going into effect Tuesday is a repeal of the $64 annual license tax on hybrid vehicles.

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