Few new state laws in effect as of Jan. 1

January 05, 2010

With the Oregon Legislature out of session for most of 2010, the list of new laws going into effect in Oregon is less than it usually is in even years.

Nonetheless, a few new laws took effect on Jan. 1. Here is a brief summary:

Minimum wage: Minimum wage is rising 10 cents per hour, from $8.40 to $8.50. The 10-cent increase could mean roughly $208 more in annual wages for the average person working one of Oregon’s minimum-wage jobs in 2011.

Gas-tax increase: The other big change for 2011 is a six-cent gas tax increase, raising the total state tax consumers pay per gallon from 24 to 30 cents. The increase is part of 2009 legislation that raised the most money for road and bridge work in the state’s history. Most of the increases in licensing and registration took effect in October 2009.

The weight-mile tax, which is levied on commercial trucks, went up three months ago.

The purpose of the tax, which had been at 24 cents since 1993, is to fund transportation improvements to state highways. The tax is expected to raise some $300 million over the course of the year.

Motorcycle-training required: A new law will require people applying for new motorcycle endorsements, who are under the age of 31, to go through a 15-hour training course. In 2012 the law will require training for all new motorcycle operators under 41, in 2013 under 51, in 2014 under 61, and in 2015 the law will apply to new motorcycle endorsements for riders of any age.

Since 1997, Oregon law has required all riders under 21 to complete a TEAM OREGON Basic Rider Training course as part of the endorsement process.

The law was put into effect after motorcycle accidents in the state increased by almost 51 percent between 2002 and 2008.

No more exotic pet permits: As of Jan. 1, the Oregon Department of Agriculture will not issue any new permits while it phases out existing ones.

The move, which is a policy change, rather than a new law, comes at the direction of the 2009 Legislature, which ordered the change to protect the public against health and safety risks posed to the community by exotic animals.

The list of exotic pets includes some bears, crocodiles and nonhuman primates, such as capuchin monkeys and chimpanzees. More than half of the 49 permits issued for 88 exotic animals in the state are for exotic cats. Current owners will be able to keep their pets until the animal dies or is sold.