Jan 6, 2016
New Year, New Laws, New Worries January 2016
From Rainmakers Government Strategies
Paid Sick Leave
Requires most employers in the state having 10 or more employees to implement a sick time
policy allowing an employee to earn, accrue, donate, or use up to 40 hours of paid sick time per
year. The threshold is 6 employees in the Portland area.
Ban the Box
Establishes an unlawful employment practice for an employer to ask about an applicant’s
conviction history on a job application (no box that you check if you have a conviction) or prior to
Wage Conversations / Pay Equity
Protects employees who inquire about, discuss, or disclose information about their wage or the
wage of another employee.
Right to Try
Permits a terminally ill Oregon patient to have access to an experimental drug after it has
passed through Phase 1 of a clinical trial (which is the initial trial testing where a drug is given to
a small group of people to evaluate its safety and side effects) but has not been FDA approved.
Ban on use of electronic cigarettes expanded to all those places cigarette smoking is not
allowed (public spaces including job, bar, restaurant, airport, and mall).
If you are in an Oregon county with fewer than 40,000 residents, you can pump your own gas
between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. These counties currently qualify:
County One interesting thing to see or know while there
- Clatsop Beautiful beaches
- Malheur Most of the county does not follow Pacific Time
- Union The real Old Oregon Trail and Trail Interpretive Park
- Wasco Columbia Gorge Discovery Center
- Tillamook Cape Meares Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge
- Hood River The median age is only 35
- Curry Oregon’s only naturally occurring redwoods
- Jefferson Metolius River Recreational area
- Crook John Day Fossil Bed National Monument
- Baker Over 100 buildings on the historic national register
- Morrow The SAGE Center (interactive interpretative center)
- Lake Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge
- Grant Old West Scenic Bikeway
- Harney Steens Mountains
- Wallowa Wallowa Lake Tramway (gondola)
- Gilliam The Painted Hills is one of the 7 wonders of Oregon
- Sherman Wasco Railroad & City History Center
- Wheeler Least populated county in OR – hunting & fishing paradise
Essentially, filling out information for drivers’ licenses also serves as registering to vote starting
with this year’s election. DMV to provide the Secretary of State with electronic records
containing legal name, age, residence and citizenship information, and electronic signature of
each person who may qualify as voter. Individuals registered to vote through this process would
be notified of registration status, how to avoid registration, and how to adopt a party affiliation.
E-vehicles: Parking your non-electric vehicle in a parking space reserved for an alternative-fuel
vehicles can lead to a $250 fine.
Bicyclists, motorcyclists, and anyone else on two wheels can proceed on a red light if the light
strands them by failing to go through a full light cycle and turn green.
The 2016 short session starts February 1st and is predicted to be the staging area for trouble in
the coming years.
Senate President Peter Courtney warned attendees at the Oregon Leadership Summit in
December that “Oregon is on the verge of its own civil war.” The issues set to cause sides to be
chosen and battles to be waged are a gigantic corporate tax rate hike and an increase in the
state’s minimum wage. Both are expected on the November ballot, but many predict they are
an integral part of the session conversation/negotiations.
It is predicted the campaigns in opposition and support of the corporate tax issue will spend $30
million each and cause a divide between businesses and the unions with which they must work.
The minimum wage issue is expected to drive a wedge between rural and urban areas.
The thought is that the legislature will step in and try to negotiate both issues during session
thus avoiding expensive, messy, and incendiary ballot measure campaigns. But can the
legislature be expected to come to agreement on that which will certainly divide Oregonians?
Senator Courtney worries fighting over the two issues will irreparably damage the Oregon
legislature, political parties, and people for quite some time.
Other contentious issues that may come up:
- Affordable housing (including discussions of pricing and rent controls) and homelessness in general
- Changes to marijuana statutes
- Higher education cost controls
- Local government preemptions (inclusionary zoning/rent control & minimum wage)
- PERS shortfall – with the Oregon Supreme Court striking down other legislatively approved cost saving reforms, time is money and many think this cannot wait until 2017
- Fuels standards & transportation package – I think we will actually see this set off until 2017, but would not be surprised to see “task forces” established to deal with aspects
- Agency questions – both the Department of Energy and the Department of Human
- Services are under fire for questionable (even illegal) activities