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12 new laws to keep in mind for the new year

The smoking age in Oregon raises to 21 in 2018.
Jade McDowell

East Oregonian

Published on December 22, 2017 3:59PM

Last changed on December 22, 2017 6:37PM

Oregon voters became the fifth state in the nation to raise the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products to 21 years old.

EO file Photo

Oregon voters became the fifth state in the nation to raise the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products to 21 years old.

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Union Pacific work crews replace railroad ties along a spur running parallel to Umatilla River Road on May 3, 2015, north of Hermiston. An Oregon law that requires drivers to stop for trains will expanded to include all on-track equipment in 2018.

EO file Photo

Union Pacific work crews replace railroad ties along a spur running parallel to Umatilla River Road on May 3, 2015, north of Hermiston. An Oregon law that requires drivers to stop for trains will expanded to include all on-track equipment in 2018.

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You can pump your own gas 24 hours a day in Boardman starting in January — due to a law that will change with the new year.

Thanks to one of more than 850 laws passed during the 2017 Oregon Legislature, fuel stations in counties east of Portland with fewer than 40,000 residents (including all of the counties surrounding Umatilla County but not Umatilla County itself) can allow self-service fueling 24 hours a day.

A few other interesting laws to keep in mind as Jan. 1 rolls around:

• Starting in 2018, drivers must change lanes or slow down when passing any vehicle with flashing hazard lights, flares or other signs of distress parked along the side of road not in a designated parking space. The previous law only required drivers to move over for emergency vehicles and tow trucks. Now, if there are more than two lanes going in the same direction, the driver must change lanes away from the stopped vehicle. If there is only one lane in each direction the driver must slow down to at least five miles under the posted speed limit instead.

• One of the most controversial bills of the 2017 session, which allows a judge to order someone to give up their firearms, kicks in on Jan. 1. If a family member or police officer presents the court with convincing evidence that a person “presents a risk in the near future, including an imminent risk, of suicide or of causing physical injury to another person” a judge can issue an order of protection banning the person from possessing deadly weapons for one year.

• Once the new year begins, Oregonians under the age of 21 will no longer be able to purchase any tobacco products. The state became the fifth in the nation to raise the smoking age to 21 this summer.

• The voting age in the United States remains at 18, but in January teenagers in Oregon will be able to turn in their voter registration cards starting at age 16 so that they are already registered by the time they become old enough to vote.

• If you’re getting married next year but aren’t the religious type, you will be able to skip the ordained minister and be married by a secular organization “that occupies a place in the lives of the organization’s members parallel to that filled by a church or particular religious authority.”

• The wait time to get a vasectomy should go down in Oregon once nurse practitioners can begin performing the procedure.

• Fewer crashes will be required to be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles, after the minimum monetary damage requiring a report is raised from $1,500 to $2,500. Drivers are still required to report to the DMV within 72 hours if damage caused by the crash is more than $2,500, a vehicle is towed from the scene or the crash caused injuries.

• Manufacturing employers will have to get advance written consent from most employees before they work more than 55 hours in a week. Manufacturers will also be barred from having employees more than 60 hours a week, unless they get temporary exemption due to seasonal work with perishable foods. Manufacturing employers will also have to calculate each employee’s overtime by the week (for more than 40 hours) and by the day (more than 10 hours) and then pay whichever sum is greater.

• The definition of vehicular assault has been expanded from striking pedestrians and bicyclists to include striking motorcycle riders or their motorcycles.

• Charitable or fraternal organizations authorized to operate bingo or lotto games can now pay out prizes up to $5,000 for a single game, up from the previous maximum of $2,500.

• Children under the age of 18 will no longer be able to purchase nitrous oxide canisters often known as “Whip-its,” which are intended to be used for baking purposes but can also be abused as an inhalant drug.

• Laws that previously required drivers to stop for trains have been expanded to include all on-track equipment.

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Contact Jade McDowell at jmcdowell@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4536.



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