We have had a little over a week to get used to some of the laws that took effect on January 1st, 2020. Below will be information on three of the most important laws that took effect for the New Year.
The Single-Use Bag Ban (H.B. 2509)
The biggest and easiest to spot is the plastic bag ban. This statewide ban states no retail stores or restaurants can provide single-use checkout bags; instead, they must now carry paper bags, reusable plastic bags (at least 4 mils thick), and/or reusable fabric bags. Consumers are urged to bring reusable bags with them and if they fail to do so, will be charged at least five cents for every bag they wish to purchase. This five cents goes back to the business to offset the cost of purchasing reusable bags that they must provide.
Exemptions to the ban include bags used for bulk items like hardware or for sanitary/privacy purposes, specialty bags such as garment bags, and bags sold in a package like ziplocks or trash bags. You can read more about the ban here.
The Corporate Activity Tax, aka CAT (H.B. 3427)
This law was voted on back in May of 2019 but just went into effect on the first of the month. This tax is in addition to the already existing corporate income tax and all revenue made from the CAT will be used for education spending (2). This tax is applied to businesses that have commercial activity in excess of $1 million. “The tax is computed as $250 plus 0.57% of Oregon commercial activity of more than $1 million. Only taxpayers with more than $1 million of taxable Oregon commercial activity will have a payment obligation” (2).
Non-profit charities, farmers’ cooperatives, hospitals/healthcare facilities, and government-based entities are exempt from participating in this tax.
Businesses are well within their rights to pass on any additional costs to the consumer. So if you see prices rising in the next couple of months, this tax may be a part of it.
Stop As A Yield Law (S.B. 998)
For those who bike as their main form of commute, you may be pleased to hear that you can finally treat stop signs and red lights as a yield as long as you come to a reasonable speed to ensure safety. This has been known as an “Idaho Stop” since they enacted the law back in 1982.
According to BikeLaw.Com (3),
Under the new Stop as Yield law, if a cyclist who is approaching an intersection where traffic is controlled by a stop sign slows to a safe speed, the cyclist may do any of the following without violating the law:
- proceed through the intersection without stopping;
- make a right or left turn into a two-way street;
- make a right or a left turn into a one-way street in the direction of traffic upon the one-way street.
However, the cyclist will be violating the law by making an improper entry into the intersection if the cyclist:
- Fails to yield the right of way to traffic lawfully within the intersection or approaching so close as to constitute an immediate hazard;
- Disobeys the directions of a police officer or flagger;
- Fails to exercise care to avoid an accident; or
- Fails to yield the right of way to a pedestrian in an intersection or crosswalk.
Violations, such as not slowing to a reasonable stop or yielding to the right of way, can result in a fine of up to $250.