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What Laws Will Go into Effect in Oregon on Jan. 1, 2023?

Lawmakers passed nearly 120 bills this past legislative session and some of the highest-profile bills have already gone into effect. But 20 new laws, from workers’ compensation to victim restitution, start on Jan. 1.

Cherry blossoms frame the State Capitol building and the Capitol Mall, an Oregon State Park
Cherry blossoms frame the State Capitol building and the Capitol Mall, an Oregon State Park.
(Michael Lloyd/The Oregonian)
(TNS) — Oregon lawmakers passed nearly 120 bills during the short legislative session this year. Some of the highest-profile laws have already taken effect, including a contentious bill that grants overtime pay to farmworkers and a $200 million workforce plan aimed at addressing the state’s labor shortage.

But an additional 20 new laws approved in the 2022 legislative session will go into effect Jan. 1. Those laws will expand eligibility to workers’ compensation, make it easier for victims of crimes to seek restitution and remove a derogatory term to describe noncitizens from state statutes, among other things.

Many of the policy changes and reforms going into effect Jan. 1 received bipartisan support in the Legislature. But others were more controversial. Democrats pushed through a bill creating a state goal for the percentage of diverse employees at the Department of Education to reflect the percentage of diverse students in public schools.

Here is a look at the laws passed during the 2022 legislative session that take effect Jan. 1:

MANDATORY OVERTIME: Senate Bill 1513 prohibits employers from penalizing bakery and tortilla plant workers who refuse to work overtime shifts on short notice. Senate Democrats took up the bill after a request from the Oregon AFL-CIO, the statewide federation of unions which represents over 300,000 Oregon workers. The narrowly tailored bill impacts 294 employers who employ 5,629 workers in Oregon. It passed the Senate 24-2 and the House 36-21.

PAID LEAVE: Senate Bill 1515 modified the definition of “benefit year” for the purposes of the state’s paid family and medical leave insurance program, which will start providing benefits to workers in September 2023. For the purposes of the program, the benefit year will be a period of 52 consecutive weeks beginning on the Sunday immediately preceding the date when a person begins taking paid leave. It passed the Senate 23-0 and the House 50-1.

DENTAL CARE: Senate Bill 1538 established an Oregon Health Plan program to provide dental care to low-income citizens of the island nations in the Compact of Free Association who are residing in Oregon. It passed the Senate 25-1 and the House 57-1.

NEWBORNS: Senate Bill 1555 requires that a health benefit plan offered in Oregon reimburse the full cost to providers that deliver in-home nurse visits, which are universally and voluntarily available to all families in Oregon with newborns. It passed the Senate 19-4 and the House 48-9.

NONCITIZENS: Senate Bill 1560 requires the state to remove statutory references to “aliens” and replace the word with “noncitizen.” The measure requires that all statutory references to “aliens” as a reference to noncitizens be removed by Jan. 1 and that state agencies replace the word “alien” with “noncitizen” in their rules by July 1. It passed the Senate 24 to 1 and the House 48 to 9.

SEXUAL ASSAULT KIT: Senate Bill 1574 allows the state to include specific documentation on injuries, evidence collection and forensic exam history in a sexual assault forensic evidence kit, if authorized by the victim. It passed unanimously in the Senate and the House.

SETTLEMENTS: Senate Bill 1586 expands Oregon’s Workplace Fairness Act to make it unlawful for an employer to require former employees to enter into an agreement that would prevent them from disclosing discrimination and harassment. A similar law already covered current and prospective employees. The law also prohibits employers from including provisions in agreements that would prevent the disclosure of the amount or fact of a settlement, unless an employee requests that provision. It passed 22-9 in the Senate and 47-9 in the House.

ALARMS: House Bill 4027 limits the regulations local governments can put on nonresidential alarm systems and battery-charged fences that otherwise meet standards set by the International Electrotechnical Commission. It passed 53 to 1 in the House and 27 to 1 in the Senate.

EDUCATION: House Bill 4031 establishes a state goal to have the percentage of diverse employees employed by Oregon’s Department of Education reflect the percentage of diverse students in public schools. It passed 36 to 21 in the House and 17 to 9 in the Senate.

FISHING LICENSES: House Bill 4072 enacts changes to fishing license requirements. It lowers the cost of the one-day angling and shellfish license fee, while requiring certain steelhead anglers to obtain new validation and harvest cards. It passed the House 58 to 2 and the Senate 26 to 0.

RESTITUTION: House Bill 4075 makes it easier for crime victims, including small businesses that are burglarized, to receive restitution for economic damages in part by ensuring that victims are paid in full before convicted criminals pay court fines. It passed unanimously in the House and Senate.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: House Bill 4086 makes key changes to the state’s workers’ compensation laws by broadening the definition of a beneficiary and a dependent when considering eligibility for benefits. Under the new law, the definition of a dependent is broadened to include individuals whose close association with a worker is equivalent to a family relationship, among others. Dependents who are noncitizens living outside the United States and spouses “living in a state of abandonment” are also no longer excluded from being beneficiaries, either. The legislation passed 48 to 6 in the House and 23 to 4 in the Senate

REAL ESTATE: House Bill 4103 increases the fines for conducting unlicensed real estate business in Oregon. The fine for a first offense will rise from at least $100 to at least $1,000 while the fine for a second offense will rise from at least $500 to at least $2,500. It passed 51 to 1 in the House and passed unanimously in the Senate.

TRAFFIC CITATIONS: House Bill 4105 gives cities the authority to appoint “duly authorized traffic enforcement agents.” The enforcement agents, who are not police officers, will be allowed to review and issue citations based on photographs taken by automated red light and speed enforcement cameras. The legislation passed the House 36 to 23 and the Senate 17-6.

FIREFIGHTERS: House Bill 4113 expands the list of cancers considered occupational diseases for firefighters under state law to include bladder and gynecologic cancers. It passed the House 55 to 3 and passed unanimously in the Senate.

SCHOOL BOARD: House Bill 4114 requires school board members to file verified statements of economic interest with the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. Public officials must disclose key information on their statements of economic interest, including sources of income, real estate holdings and possible conflicts of interest. The legislation passed the House 41 to 16 and the Senate 23 to 3.

CHILD SUPPORT: House Bill 4121 authorized a presiding judge to appoint a child support referee to process or hear certain child support or parentage matters. It passed unanimously in the House and the Senate.

EDUCATION: House Bill 4124 requires the state education department to conduct a survey of the academic assessments administered to students by school districts and to use that information to develop recommendations and best practices about assessments. It passed the House 49 to 10 and the Senate 23 to 3.

VOTER REGISTRATION: House Bill 4133 simplifies Oregon’s voter registration process by allowing individuals to register to vote online using only the last four digits of their social security number and an image of their signature. Third-party organizations approved by the Oregon Secretary of State can also submit online registrations on behalf of voters. The legislation passed 33 to 23 in the House and 18 to 7 in the Senate. The law will go on the books in January, but the Secretary of State’s Office will have until 2026 to implement the new process.

TEMPORARY DISABILITY: House Bill 4138 sets new limits on insurers’ ability to recover overpayments made to injured workers and ensures that workers receive written notices before temporary disability payments are suspended. While the legislation becomes law Jan. 1, 2023, its provisions will only apply to claims that arise after Jan. 1, 2024. It passed unanimously in the House and 25 to 1 in the Senate.

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