MEDFORD, Ore. – A new year means new laws for Oregonians, what you need to know going into 2021.
For starters, the tobacco tax is increasing, therefore, expect to see at least a $2 rise on tobacco products, such as cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and little cigars. The extra tax will help fund health coverage for low-income families and public health programs.
“Anyone who has another 50 cents on cigar tax coming out of their pockets during these trying financial times, they’re going to take that into consideration,” said Matt Roberts, Manager of Cigar Cave.
Also starting Friday, there is no need to provide proof of citizenship to get a standard Oregon I.D. which is different than the Real I.D. TSA requires for travel. However, you will still need to provide proof of name, identity, and Oregon residency. Those who cannot prove their citizenship will not be automatically registered to vote.
Starting in February, Oregon will decriminalize low-level drug possession. This law doesn’t legalize drugs.
If someone is caught with a small number of drugs there is a fine involved, which may be waived if the person seeks treatment. People with either a felony criminal conviction or two plus drug convictions may face more serious penalties.
“We have to decide as a society, are we a nation of reform or punishment. Those records of folks, it’s not that punishment of that year in jail, it affects your life,” said Stick Crosby from SO Healthe.
Then starting in July, the minimum wage in Oregon is going from $12 an hour to $12.75, in non-urban counties the current $11.50 hourly wage is going up to $12.
NBC5 News reporter Katie Streit comes from her hometown, Las Vegas. Katie went to the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism & Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
While in Las Vegas, Katie won a Student Emmy for her coverage of the Las Vegas Shooting Anniversary. She also hosted and produced the university’s political news show, where she interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-1). Her passion for politics turned into a coveted internship at the US Capitol in Washington D.C. In her final months working in the Las Vegas area, she was recognized for her journalism achievements by the Nevada Broadcaster’s Foundation.
Katie is excited to tell the stories of local Southern Oregonians and Northern Californians. Feel free to contact her at [email protected]