Changes at the pump and behind the wheel coming to MD and VA Jul - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

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Changes at the pump and behind the wheel coming to MD and VA July 1

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A host of new laws will take effect in Maryland and Virginia on July first.

Starting on Monday, police in Virginia, don't need another  reason to pull over drivers suspected of texting behind the wheel.

It's a  primary offense.  They just have to see you do it, and you'll be hit with a  $125 fine the first time.  Get caught a second time, and it'll cost you $250. Emergency vehicle operators engaged in official duties are exempt.

Big changes are coming to Virginia motorists at the gas pump too.

The gas tax is being slashed from a 17.5 cents a gallon tax to a 3.5 % levy on wholesale  gas prices.

 The change is part of  the state's transportation overhaul meant to pump more money into road and bridge projects. 

"Virginia needs it. The infrastructure is not that great. If it helps, it would be good.  I don't think I'll see a difference,"Alan Royston says.

Virginians will definitely see a difference on their sales slips starting Monday.

The sales tax is going up from 5% to 5.3 %percent statewide.

 In Northern virginia and the Hampton Roads region it  will top out at 6%.

" It's pretty steep, but we've also got to support our roads, the infrastructure, our good schools, all the good things we enjoy about life here in Virginia," John Moore says.

At Ayers hardware, Owner Ron Kaplan is bracing for the sales tax increase.Right now says he won't be passing it on to his customers by raising prices.

" I don't think it's going to hurt my business, but it's not going to help it either.  I'm just to collector," Kaplan says.

Maryland officials will be collecting more in taxes from motorists in the state.

The gas tax is going up 3.5 center a gallon , making the total 27 cents a gallon.. t's the first of several hikes that will be phased in over the next few years.

Also noteworthy, unwed couples in Virginia will no longer be breaking the law by living together beginning July 1st.. The so-called Love shack bill  overrides the 1877 law that made it a misdemeanor for people who weren't married to live together.

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