- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 1, 2001

RICHMOND, Va. — Good morning. As you slept, a few new state laws took effect that might influence your day-to-day life.
For public school students, the changes mean you'll have a U.S. flag in every classroom and, once each school day, you'll have to stand, face Old Glory and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Conscientious objectors may sit quietly as others recite it.
One new law puts your phone off-limits to intrusive telemarketers after 9 p.m. and allows you to take the most persistent phone pests to court and collect civil damages up to $1,500.
It bars phone solicitors from masking the numbers from which they call so they don't show up on caller identification devices. It also prohibits them from calling people who have said they don't wish to be bothered again.
For the most egregious violations, the law allows local prosecutors or even the state attorney general to get involved.
It's a bummer of a day for children about to turn 15 and looking forward to driving with a learner's permit.
The age for getting a learner's permit just increased to 15 1/2, and the age for getting a driver's license jumped from 16 to 16 years and three months.
The day brings added penalties for stalkers. Prosecutors no longer have to prove that stalkers knew they were putting their victims in fear of death or sexual assault. Instead, they need only prove that the stalker should have known that he was terrifying his victim.
Enforcement just got tighter against those who make threats on school grounds or those who use computers to target people for harassment. Another new law revokes for one year the driving privileges of juveniles who make bomb threats.
Pharmacists must supervise pharmacy technicians and interns more closely.
Changes in the law require pharmacists to be nearby and available for immediate consultation to the technicians or interns dispensing medicines. A 1998 study found that a typical pharmacist catches an average of 61/2 technician mistakes a week, usually selection of the wrong drug, wrong directions for use or miscalculation of dose or quantity.
In congested urban areas, drivers who carry extra passengers and use the high-occupancy-vehicle lanes can cruise along at 65 mph instead of 55.
And if you were planning to clone a human being, you're a day late. That became illegal in Virginia at midnight.
One key change the day brings results from legislation that never passed: amendments to the two-year state budget.
There's no state money now for scores of nonprofit museums, arts and cultural organizations. Some of them, especially those in rural areas that depend most on state aid, are already open fewer days, cutting outreach programs and laying off employees.
The budget impasse means that there's no provision for raising the pay of state employees, public school teachers, college professors and local deputy sheriffs. It also forced Gov. James S. Gilmore III to trim about $421 million in state spending, about half of that from freezing construction projects at state-supported colleges and universities.
The General Assembly is expected to consider restoring the funding retroactively with a "caboose bill" in January.

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