I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and 2016 is treating you well! As I head into the thirty-five day legislative session on February 1st, I wanted to share a few of the laws that went into effect as of January 1st. I also want to share the details for my next Town Hall with Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson.
I hope you can join us for a post-legislative session update and learn about what is next as we head into the spring and summer.
New Protections for Working Families
On January 1, 2016 many of the bills passed during the 2015 Legislative session went into effect, providing much-needed protections for working families in Gresham and every corner of the state.
Here are just some of the highlights:
Earned Sick Leave: Senate Bill 454
No one should have to decide between taking care of their health and keeping their job. This law will be a big help to low-income workers who currently have no earned sick time protections. Applies to companies with 10 or more employees.
Wage Transparency: House Bill 2007
This law protects employees who inquire about, discuss, or disclose information about their wage or the wage of another employee. Allowing for wage disclosure among employees encourages pay equity.
Ban the Box: House Bill 3025
Prevents employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history on their job application. This law will help those who have served their time have a better shot at getting their foot in the door for a job.
Personal Injury Protection: Senate Bill 411
Auto insurance consumers will now be able to receive up to the full amount of uninsured motorist coverage (and underinsured coverage) if they are injured by an at-fault, uninsured driver. But in order to take advantage of the law, consumers will have to act, as it only applies to insurance policies issued or renewed on or after that date. In order to get full coverage, consumers will need to call or email their auto insurance company and say they want all of their auto policies renewed or reissued effective January 2, 2016.
New Motor Voter: House Bill 2177
HB 2177 expands access to our democracy by making sure that every eligible voter receives a ballot. While other state legislatures are working to limit voter participation, Oregon is moving in the opposite direction by removing unnecessary, outdated barriers to voting.
Expanding Access to Birth Control: House Bill 2879 and House Bill 3343
HB 2879 allows pharmacists to prescribe birth control, reducing the need for women to visit a doctor for their contraceptive prescriptions. HB 3343 requires insurers to cover a full year of birth control, reducing gaps in coverage and access.
Keeping Guns Out of the Hands of Domestic Abusers: Senate Bill 525
Aligns Oregon law with the federal Violence Against Women Act to keep firearms away from domestic abusers.
Clean Fuels: Senate Bill 324
Reduces the carbon intensity of transportation fuel by 10 percent over the next 10 years, leading to cleaner air, fewer emissions of greenhouse gases, and the development of a homegrown alternative fuels industry. The law is being phased in beginning in January, with full compliance measures starting April 30, 2018.
Protecting College Students from Unfair Fees: House Bill 2832
Requires all contracts between public universities and third-party financial institutions for disbursement of student aid moneys to comply with federal consumer protection guidelines; prohibits transaction fees, inactivity fees, and revenue-sharing policies.
These important protections are in addition to the bills that have already gone into effect in 2015, like closing the background check loophole for firearm sales, all-day kindergarten for every children, and strengthening ethics laws.
Please don't hesitate to reach out to my office with any thoughts or concerns during the short legislative session. You can reach me and my staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or (503) 986-1450.
I wish you and your family the best in 2016 and hope to see you at the Town Hall on March 19th.