The Oregon state legislator is laying down new laws that started on Jan. 1, so watch out for some of them that are likely to affect University of Oregon students — especially drivers, smokers and beverage drinkers.
Here are some new laws in Oregon that you should know:
Bottle Tax increase:
You’ll pay 10 cents per bottle of soda, coffee or other canned or bottled drinks instead of 5 cents with a new law passed in April. There are some exceptions to the tax, including wine, liquor, dairy and meal supplement bottles or cans. Nine states have such laws, ranging from 5 cents to 15 cents. The reason behind Oregon’s bump in price is because when the law was first introduced in 1971, the price was a nickel. It aimed to encourage people to bring bottles back to deposit sites where they can get their deposits back. But a nickel is worth less now, and return rates have been decreasing. Oregon’s increase to 10 cents aims to raise the bottle return rates. In 2015, returns dipped to 68 percent, compared to around 90 percent in the first few years that the law was introduced.
New to most native Oregonians, and a source of much outcry, will be the new law allows counties with populations less than 40,000 the ability to pump their own gas.New Jersey and Oregon are the only states that require an attendant at gas stations pump gas. Nearby counties such as Curry, Jefferson and Wheeler will be able to pump their own gas instead of needing an attendant.
New to this year, Oregon residents will see a 4 cent rise in the gas tax, which will now be 34 cents. This is part of a transportation bill that will aim to improve the state of Oregon’s roads and bus systems across the state. The transportation funding package is a seven year, $5.3 billion endeavor tied into other fees that are also being put into place in 2018.
Oregon issues 2-year and 4-year registrations, and most car owners will see the fee for 2-year registrations rise from $86 to $112, a 30 percent increase. The total fee increase amounts to $26 total, due to a $13 jump per year.
The fee to transfer and replace the title of a car is also increasing: Car owners will have to pay an additional $16, a 20 percent increase from the former $77. The fee adds up to a new total of $93.
As of January 1, the legal age for tobacco use has been raised from 18 to 21 statewide. The age was raised in Lane County in April 2017, but now the rest of the state has followed suit, making Oregon the fifth state to raise the legal age for tobacco to 21.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed the change into legislation in August, according to the Oregonian. The change affects cigarettes, cigars, vape, and devices for tobacco use like pipes and water pipes.
The change is intended to prevent young people from getting addicted to nicotine. The U.S. Surgeon General reported that 9 out of 10 smokers start before age 18.
The Oregonian reported that the new law will focus on punishing tobacco vendors who sell to underage people more than tobacco smokers who are underage.
A side effect of the new minimum age is that people under the age of 21 will no longer be able to shop at head shops, where glassware and smoking accessories associated with cannabis are sold. Back in April, when the smoking minimum was raised in Lane County, many students were more upset about that consequence than tobacco.