Dozens of Oregon laws take effect in new year
By JONATHAN J. COOPER
Of the Associated Press
SALEM — As 2013 becomes 2014 on Wednesday, dozens of new laws will be taking effect across Oregon.
Expect a few higher fines and fees, new crimes to avoid committing and new workplace rules.
Tobacco taxes will go up, and you'll face a fine if you're caught smoking one of those more expensive cigarettes in a car with a minor.
Minors will be prohibited from tanning beds. Employers won't be allowed to demand access to their workers’ social media accounts. Fines will go up for using a cellphone while driving.
Here's a look at a some of the wide variety of new laws that hit the books on Jan. 1:
— Standard fines for using a cellphone while driving will increase $50 to $160, and judges will be allowed to go as high as $500 — double the current maximum. So far in 2013, Oregon State Police troopers have nabbed 3,500 people for such violations and issued another 1,600 warnings, Lt. Gregg Hastings said. That's up from 2,151 citations and 1,878 warnings last year.
— Cigarette taxes will climb 13 cents to $1.31 a pack. The state Revenue Department says tobacco taxes bring in about $250 million a year to support the Oregon Health Plan and the state general fund. Most of the additional revenue will go to mental health services.
— Officers will be able to write tickets for people they catch smoking in a vehicle if a minor is present. It will be a secondary offense, which means the officer will only be able to issue a citation if the vehicle is pulled over for committing another traffic violation like speeding or running a red light.
— Tying up a dog in a manner that causes an injury to the animal will be a crime.
— Employers and universities will be prohibited from requiring workers, students and applicants to provide access to their personal Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts.
— A rodeo event known as “horse roping” will be illegal. It's performed only at one rodeo in the state, in Jordan Valley, a town in the southeastern part of the state. Critics call the practice “horse tripping” and say it's cruel.
— Photo studios won't be allowed to offer ultrasound movies or photos as keepsakes to expecting parents. A new law will restrict “medical imaging” procedures to medical purposes ordered and interpreted by a licensed provider.
— Tanning salons will have to keep minors out of their tanning beds. Children and teens will be allowed in if a doctor recommends it for medical reasons.
— Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder will be added to the list of conditions that qualify a patient for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program. Lawmakers responded to advocates who said marijuana might help them minimize the effects of PTSD, such as flashbacks, anxiety and avoidance behaviors.
— Mammogram providers will be required to notify women who are discovered to have dense breast tissue. Experts say dense breast tissue — a low proportion of fat compared to breast and connective tissues — can make tumors more difficult to detect.
— Timber companies will be able to sue activists who try to interfere with logging activity on state forests.
— The minimum wage will go up to $9.10 per hour, an increase of 15 cents. This one's not a new law. Rather, it's a result of an older one that says the minimum wage is indexed to inflation.