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Oregon: New laws take effect on Wednesday, January 1st

New laws passed by the Oregon Legislature that kick in at 12:00:01 am.

New laws passed by the Oregon Legislature that kick in at 12:00:01 am.

It’s that time of year when we’re all reminded of the new do’s and don’t’s for our civilized society. For some, more civilized than they want it to be. For others, still not enough.

Here’s the latest round:

* Fines for driving while holding a cellphone to your ear can get you a $160 fine – up to $500 on the discretion of the judge.
* Taxes on cigarettes will climb to $1.31 a pack.
* Smoking while driving with kids in the car will make you eligible for a stiff fine. It’s not a primary offense so police can’t pull you over just for that. It’ll have to be in connection with another traffic offense.
* Tying up a dog that causes injury will come with a fine.
* Employers can no longer demand that you give them access to your Facebook or other social media accounts.
* Any child under the age of 18 is barred from using tanning salons except when authorized by a physician.
* Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will be added to the list of conditions that qualifies a patient to access the state’s Medical Marijuana Program. They say it minimizes terrifying flash-backs, anxiety and avoidance behaviors. PTSD is more common than just among war veterans.
* Timber companies will be able to take protesters to court if they disrupt forestry operations on state lands.
* And the minimum wage in Oregon will rise to $9.10 hour effective New Year’s Day. That’s a 15-cent bump-up from the current rate. Oregon’s minimum wage is tied to inflation – one of a few states that do that.

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