New Oregon laws take effect Jan. 1
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon lawmakers passed more than 120 bills during the short legislative session this year. Some of the most noteworthy laws, on issues such as taxes and drug price transparency, have already taken effect.
However, many other measures take hold on New Year’s Day, from toughening penalties for domestic violence to making it easier for kids who spent time in foster care to get free college tuition. Here’s a selection of some of the most important new laws taking effect Jan. 1 from The Oregonian/OregonLive:
GUN BAN FOR DOMESTIC ABUSERS
This law expands Oregon’s existing gun ban for those convicted of domestic abuse, so it covers an abuser even if he or she isn’t married to or living with the victim and they don’t have children together. House Bill 4145 closes what supporters called the “boyfriend loophole” and was a top priority for Gov. Kate Brown this year.
STRANGULATION BECOMES A FELONY
Senate Bill 1562: This bill elevates the crime of strangulation during domestic violence to a felony. Currently, strangulation is usually a misdemeanor under state law except in limited circumstances, according to a recent Clackamas County news release.
TOUGHER HIT-AND-RUN LAW
Starting Jan. 1, Oregon drivers must return to the scene of a hit-and-run crash as soon as they know or have reason to believe they hit a person or a pet. Lawmakers passed House Bill 4055 in response to a 2013 hit-and-run that killed two young stepsisters who were playing in a leaf pile near a street curb in Forest Grove.
House Bill 4149 prohibits prosecutors to condition a plea deal on defendants’ waiving their constitutional or procedural rights. For example, a defendant eager to get out of jail might waive his or her rights to appear at trial or participate in rehabilitative programs without fully understanding the implication of doing so, advocates told lawmakers.
HOMELESS CAMP CLEANUP
House Bill 4054 allows the city of Portland to clean up campsites on state-owned land occupied by people experiencing homelessness through 2023. The state typically owns right of way around roads such as Highway 99 and Highway 205, where people often camp.
JURY AWARD EQUALITY
Certain plaintiffs who are awarded monetary damages in a lawsuit might receive more thanks to House Bill 4008. Under the new law, the calculations of a plaintiff’s future earnings can no longer take into account the person’s race or ethnicity. The change did not prohibit consideration of a plaintiff’s gender when determining potential future earnings.
COLLEGE FOR FOSTER KIDS
Oregon already provides tuition waivers for community college and university students who have spent time in the state’s foster care system. But under House Bill 4014, these students will no longer be required to perform 30 hours of community service to qualify for the benefit.
RETIREMENT PROTECTIONS FOR THE POOR
House Bill 4079 will allow people who receive cash through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, also known as welfare, to keep their pensions and other retirement savings, rather than spending those down in order to qualify for assistance.
Luke Staley (second from left), pictured as a third-grader in 2011, often helped students in the special education resource room at Nancy Ryles Elementary in Beaverton.
EXPANDED SPECIAL EDUCATION ELIGIBILITY
House Bill 4067 adds developmental delays to the list of conditions that qualify a child for special education services, from kindergarten through third grade.
Senate Bill 1550 is aimed at strengthening Oregon’s system for tracing seafood through the market, an increasingly important task as the state deals with biotoxins showing up in Dungeness crab — the state’s most valuable seafood species, according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com