Monday, December 30, 2013

Oregon, 2014. Bring on the new laws

Here we are at the last Monday in 2013. Garfield would be happy. No more Mondays for the rest of the year.

Looking over the news this morning it seems that everyone (the news organizations, not the people) are focused on what we can and can not do (or can do but with perhaps a higher penalty for getting caught) in the new year. Here's a recap of what's making the news in Oregon:

Oregon's minimum wage is going up by 15 cents per hour to $9.10. In a state that doesn't do tip crediting (minimum wage can be as low as $2.13/hr as long as tips make up the rest of the salary to meet minimum wage) this is a big deal for restaurants and those who have tipped employees. The up side is that we still have restaurants and bars, and they seem to be doing quite fine here.

It's going to be more expensive to smoke. Cigarette taxes are going up by 13 cents to $1.31. This next year we'll also see e-cigs become state controlled as well. There's a lot that will need to be done, but this will be the next thing the state controls. If you do smoke, doing so around minors can have another impact on your wallet as smoking with minors in a car will now carry a fine as well. Sadly this is only a secondary offense, which means the officer will need to pull the person over for something else as well.

One big one will be distracted driving. The fine for talking on a cell phone can double, up to $500 if the judge decides it's warranted. This really should be talked about as distracted driving, not just talking on a cell phone, but in Oregon the law only talks about the use of a cell phone or texting device for two way communication. Coming in the future may be true distracted driving laws that include things like eating, putting on makeup, or other things that aren't pertinent to driving a vehicle.

PTSD will now be considered a medical condition treatable with medical marijuana.

Educational Institutions, both public and private, are barred from asking for social media passwords. This one is a disappointment as the original bill was supposed to prevent employers from seeking social media passwords as well, but while working through the system the bill got dumbed down. Hopefully in the next year the senate and house can fix this to defend freedom of speech and prevent employers from asking for these things.

Pertaining specifically to home, The Willamette Valley Protected District will limit Canola production and only allow for OSU to research Canola through 2019. Not the full out ban that people were hoping for, but it does greatly limit the ability for anyone to grow canola and limits the possibility that it will invade the other crops that it can cross pollinate with and destroy the value of those crops.

Every year there are hundreds of new laws that take effect. Often many don't pertain to us on a daily basis, but it's good to at least look through the new laws and understand how these laws will affect you. Government is for the people, by the people, but only if the people take part.

To read up on the new laws, you can visit the Oregonians website here:

of visit the state website here which will list the bills, the laws, the original and adopted text:

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