MEDFORD, Ore.– As 2019 draws to a close the Oregon State Legislature passed hundreds of new bills both large and small.
Legislation such as a statewide ban on plastic bags to a resolution honoring Parkrose football coach Keanon Lowe, whose brave actions stopped a young gunman on campus, all passed. These new bills will take effect on Wednesday.
With 2019 is closing off a busy year there’s plenty of discussion surrounding certain bills that passed.
Two of those directly targeted plastic, banning both single-use plastic straws in restaurants and plastic bags at grocery stores. Customers can still request a plastic straw but if shoppers don’t bring reusable bags while shopping, they’ll be charged at least 5 cents for every paper bag they use.
Earlier this month NBC5 News spoke with the store manager of Food 4 Less about the change.
“We do have to charge a nickel, that’s mandated by the state, so we can charge more – we’ve chosen not to,” said Jared Mulhollen. “We’re gonna charge 5 cents.”
Roads will be different come January 1 as drivers will have to watch out for the so-called “Idaho Stop.”
Inspired by Idaho’s law, Oregon will allow cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs. Some who opposed the law worried about bicyclist safety but according to one cyclist, NBC5 spoke with in early December – it’s not a worry.
“As long it’s safe enough and there’s no other right-of-way traffic that’s already at the intersection, it’s definitely a convenience to be able to carefully and cautiously roll through the intersection without having to come to a complete stop,” said Alex Hayes, owner of Cycle Sport.
Oregon is also planning for the future with two bills – one aimed at daylight saving and the other for national elections.
The state is set to move daylight saving to year-round but will need federal approval and similar laws passed in California and Washington to take effect. Oregon also joined the National Popular Vote Compact, which agrees to give the state’s electoral college votes in presidential elections to the winner of the national popular vote.
Supporters need 270 votes to enact. Oregon brings that total to 196.
One final bill expands upon an original law set up in 2015. Oregon’s “Revenge Porn” law has made it illegal to post intimate images of a person on the internet without their consent.
The new update would also make it illegal to share images through text, email, and even hand-printed images.
NBC5 News Reporter Miles Furuichi graduated from Chapman University with degrees in English and Journalism. He received post graduate experience in Los Angeles in photojournalism and commercial photography. He also spent time in Dublin, Ireland working in print journalism and advertising.
Miles is a Rogue Valley native, raised in Ashland. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and photography.