From driving a car to finding a place to rent, Oregonians are set to start living with a slew of new laws in 2014.
Here’s a roundup of the notable new rules and how they could affect you and your family:
Teenagers: Oregonians who are less than 18 years old no longer can use indoor tanning beds or booths starting Jan. 1. Lawmakers approved the ban on teen tanning in 2013, saying the state has one of the highest rates of melanoma skin cancer in the nation. The law carves out an exception for teens whose parents provide a physician’s referral for the beds to help with the treatment of medical conditions such as psoriasis.
Drivers: If you’re caught talking or texting while driving in Oregon on or after Jan. 1, you could pay double the fine. A new law pushed by Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, raised the maximum penalty from $250 to $500.
Smokers: A pack of cigarettes is going to cost 13 cents more starting Jan. 1. Oregon lawmakers raised state taxes on cigarettes from $1.18 per pack to $1.31 during the special session this fall. The money is designated for mental health programs throughout the state.
Women: Doctors with patients who have extremely dense breast tissue will have to notify patients that they may need additional screening starting in 2014. Lawmakers unanimously passed the the Dense Breast Notification Law in 2013, saying medical evidence showed above-average tissue density can make spotting a tumor on an X-ray more difficult. Oregon is one of 13 states with laws now requiring breast density notification, according to the American College of Radiology.
Students and job seekers:Two bills passed in 2013 ban universities, colleges and employers from asking people to provide access to personal social media accounts.
Workers: Oregon’s minimum wage will increase by 15 cents to $9.10 starting Jan. 1. The Beaver State has the second-highest minimum wage in the nation behind Washington. The raise will add up to $312 per year into the pockets of the 98,000 Oregonians who earn minimum wage. Voters approved a ballot measure in 2002 to peg the state’s minimum wage to inflation.
Parents: Oregonians who want to exempt their children from vaccination will need a doctor’s note starting June 26, 2014. The letter, signed by a health professional, will notify the school that the parent watched an educational video prepared by the state discussing the benefits and risks of immunization. According to the Oregon Immunization Program, 6.4 percent of the state’s kindergarteners weren’t vaccinated in 2013 — one of the highest percentages in the nation.
Landlords: Renters can’t be turned away because they have federal housing assistance known as Section 8 starting Jan. 1. The new law, which was pushed by House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, prohibits “no Section 8 policies.” Renters still can be denied on the basis of credit or for other reasons.
Pet owners: Oregonians will be cited for unlawful tethering if they use a leash that is “not a reasonable length” for more than 10 hours in a 24-hour period Jan. 1. Violators will face a maximum fine of $1,000. And if tethering results in serious injury or death to the animal, the owner could face first-degree animal neglect charges.
Service members: Oregonians who are called to active duty can suspend and reinstate their accounts for things like television services, health club memberships and Internet.
The wrongly accused: Any Oregonian who was arrested for a crime but later exonerated can get their mugshot removed from online websites for free starting Jan. 1. The websites compile mugshot galleries by scouring jail websites, and Portland attorney Ryan Anfuso, who brought the bill to the Legislature, said it has cost innocent job seekers hundreds of dollars to get their photos removed.
Out-of-state PERS retirees: Oregon’s Legislature eliminated a benefit increase passed in 1995 for those retired public employees who live outside of the state. The tax remedy now will help only Oregonians cover the costs of paying state income taxes. Out-of-state PERS retirees could see their checks shrink by up to 9.89 percent.
astaver@Statesman Journal.com, (503) 399-6610, or follow on Twitter @AnnaStaver
Notable laws taking effect Jan. 1 across U.S.
Colorado: Retailers in the Centennial State can start selling recreational marijuana Jan. 1 to anyone older than 21 thanks to a voter-approved ballot initiative.
Connecticut: Gun owners have to register their firearms and high-capacity magazines with the state starting Jan. 1. The law was passed in the wake of the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that happened in Newtown, Conn.
Arkansas: Voters in the Natural State will have to show a photo ID if they want to cast their ballots. The law, passed in 2013, allows residents to vote provisionally without ID, but they will have to provide their local board of elections with proof of identity, indigence or religious objection to photography if they want their vote counted.
Illinois: Teenagers who younger than 18 won’t be able to use indoor tanning devices starting Jan. 1.
New Hampshire: New Year’s Eve party-goers could drink an hour longer at their favorite watering hole this year. The Granite State’s legislature approved a law in 2013 allowing communities to push last call from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m.
America: People who bought insurance policies issued through state and federal health exchanges will be covered by those policies at the start of the new year.