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Oregon State Legislature New Year, New Protections For Working Families

New Laws Going into Effect January 1

New laws include Paid Sick Leave, expansion of birth control access, and keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers

christmasnewyear.pngOn January 1, 2016 many of the historic bills passed during the 2015 Legislative session will go into effect, providing much-needed protections for working families in every corner of the state.

Here are just some of the highlights:


Paid 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 paid 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.

Employee Protections for Domestic Workers: Senate Bill 552
Establishes workplace protections for domestic workers including overtime pay, periods of rest, paid vacation time, and freedom from harassment.

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are working to limit voter participation, Oregon is moving in the opposite direction by removing unnecessary, outdated barriers to voting.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.

Note: 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, phasing out toxics in kids' toys, and strengthening ethics laws.