New laws will have a big impact on Oregonians
The Oregon Legislature passed about 750 bills in 2017, many of which took effect on Jan. 1. Here are some highlights of new laws that Oregonians may notice in the New Year:
Oregon lawmakers approved a package of new taxes and fee increases designed to fund $5.3 billion in transportation projects over the next several years. The one Oregonians may feel most is a hike in the gas tax, up 4 cents to 34 cents per gallon.
Employees will also see a new payroll tax deduction on their paychecks of 0.1 percent, and Oregon debuts the nation's first bicycle tax. New bicycle sales will be taxed a flat rate of $15 when the bicycle has a wheel diameter of 26 inches or more and a price of $200 or greater.
New vehicle sales will be taxed 0.5 percent. Car registration fees will rise by $13 to $43, and title fees by $16 to $93; there's also higher fees for registration of trailers, motorcycles, mopeds and heavy trucks.
21 to buy tobacco
Oregon will become the fifth state to increase the age to legally buy tobacco and vaping products to 21. The law imposes harsh penalties for clerks and store owners who violate the law.
Smoking-related diseases are a leading cause of death of Oregonians, and advocates say the new law will reduce the number of teenagers who take up smoking and prompt some existing smokers to try to quit. Oregon offers one free session of smoking cessation counseling through the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line, 1-800-784-8669.
Expanded bottle bill
Oregon's bottle bill, which allows people to redeem a 10-cent deposit when they return empty beer, water or soda bottles or cans, will expand to bottled and canned coffee, tea, kombucha, hard cider, fruit juice and other beverages. Wine, distilled spirits, animal- and plant-based milk and meal replacement products still aren't part of the redemption program.
Move over law
Drivers have long been required to move out of the lane when an emergency vehicle is pulled over on that side, but beginning Jan. 1, the law requires motorists also to move over when any vehicle is parked or idling on the shoulder with its warning lights on.
Lake Oswego Police Lt. Doug Treat explains it this way: "If you're driving on Country Club Road where the posted speed is 40 mph and you approach a vehicle on the side of the road with its flashers on, you must move over or, if it is not safe to do so, slow down to 35 mph when driving by. Failure to move over or slow down can result in a citation of $260."
Speed limits in Portland
Portland commissioners will gain the authority to enact lower residential speed limits than the rest of the state. The existing speed limit of 25 mph will decrease to 20 mph.
Another new law gives families a legal tool to remove loved ones' access to firearms if they pose a risk to themselves or others. The law is designed to prevent suicides and mass shootings
A family member or cohabitant may seek an extreme-risk protection order from the court for a period of 12 months, during which time the person who is a danger would have their firearm confiscated. The order could be contested and would need to be renewed annually.