Oregon lawmakers passed nearly 750 bills during their session this year. Many will take effect on New Year’s Day, from new taxes to controversial policy changes to laws designed to keep Oregonians safer. Here’s a sampling of some of the most important new laws taking effect January 1:
Flying over Portland area in a two-seat R22 helicopter
Oregon drivers will begin paying a slew of tax increases come January 1 as part of the Legislature’s $5.3 billion transportation funding plan. The statewide gas tax will increase 4 cents, to 34 cents. Car registration fees will increase $13 to $43 and title fees go up $16 to $93 for a regular title. There’s also higher fees for registration of trailers, motorcycles, mopeds and heavy trucks. The tax and fee revenue will fund highway and infrastructure upgrades statewide for at least a decade, lawmakers say.
Gene J. Puskar
Oregon will join a handful of states that have increased the tobacco age to 21. The law requires anyone buying tobacco or vape products to be 21-years-old or older and creates stiff penalties for convenience store clerks who sell to the underage. Smoking is among the leading causes of death in Oregon and advocates say increasing the tobacco age will keep some people from nicotine addiction. New figures released by the state Friday show that only 7 percent of high school juniors report smoking tobacco products in the past 30 days and 49 percent of them said they would find it hard to obtain e-cigarettes or vaping products.
Poll Americans and Guns
Senate Bill 719 will allow Oregon judges to issue so-called “extreme risk protection orders” to take firearms away from people determined to pose an immediate threat to themselves or family members. A judge would make the call whether to issue the order. The person would then have to turn in their guns to police or a qualified third party. The person can get the guns back when the order expires. Supporters at the Legislature said extreme risk protection orders may help prevent suicides or shooting sprees. Two Republican lawmakers spearheaded a petition drive to repeal the law, but failed to gather enough signatures.
Oregon Senate to vote on major bottle bill overhaul
EXPANDED BOTTLE BILL
Oregon’s famous bottle bill, which allows people to turn in empty bottles to redeem a 10 cent deposit, will expand to apply to beverages beyond beer, water and soft drinks. Beginning in 2018, nearly all beverage bottles will require a deposit. That means bottles that contained coffee, tea, hard cider, fruit juice, coconut water, kombucha and other drinks can be redeemed for the deposit. Not included in the expansion are wine and distilled spirits, milk (dairy or plant based), infant formula and meal replacements.