Robbie Newport

How newly passed bills will change Oregon next year

 
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Out of the more than 650 bills and resolutions that Oregon lawmakers passed in the last legislative session, some notable changes will occur on Jan. 1, 2024. An Oregon Live article by Carlos Fuentes on Dec. 27, explains this year was the five-month legislative session and it was productive even with the boycott disruption.

Most Oregonians would agree with the highest priorities of the session, which the article explains included housing, homelessness, drug addiction, education, and public safety. Many bills addressing these issues have already been implemented, yet some will be the beginning of next year just days away.

The good news is the notable changes the article highlights are practical. Oregonians could argue whether they go far enough, address things left out, etc. Overall, these are steps in the right direction to solve serious issues.

For instance, clinics and drug treatment facilities will be required to give two doses of overdose reversal medicine to patients they discharge. The most well-known of these is called Narcan. Also, those who administer this medicine to someone who is overdosing will be given legal protection.

Another bill will prohibit insurance companies from denying or raising the premiums for homeowners within Oregon’s state wildfire risk map.

If you live in Multnomah County and like to smoke flavored tobacco and nicotine products then you will be disappointed, as these will be banned next year. These products will be allowed in the rest of Oregon.

As for healthcare for women, a bill will require commercial insurance plans to cover the cost of breast cancer diagnostic imaging tests. All deductibles and copay fees will be removed.

For lower-income families, a new bill has created a state-based child tax credit of up to $1,000 per child age 5 or under, for families earning less than $30k annually.

Maybe the most useful bill to be implemented next year is Senate Bill 340, which harshens the penalties for organized retail theft. The bill increases the range of time to calculate the value of stolen merchandise to count as retail theft from 90 to 180 days. Also, if the person committing retail theft threatens or creates a risk of violence to an employee, the charge will automatically increase to theft in the first degree.

Interestingly, there is also a bill that will affect city and county zoning, Specifically, it allows developers to convert commercial buildings within their urban growth boundaries into residential housing without a zone change or conditional use permit. This should help with housing and homelessness issues.

Those are the main changes coming next year. Considering the number of bills and resolutions passed this year, most Oregonians should find the notable ones reasonable enough.

Source: How newly passed bills will change Oregon next year

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