New decade, new laws: What’s new in Oregon in 2020


Pregnancy, plastic bags, contract clauses and bike stops among the 2020 laws

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Dozens of bills were passed by Oregon legislators in 2019, many of which take effect on Jan. 1, 2020. Some impact drivers, shoppers, employees and employers; others aim to protect the planet.

Here’s a list of some of the new laws going into effect on New Year’s Day:

Accommodations for pregnancy-related conditions

House Bill 2341 expands employee protections related to pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition. Under the new law, employers with at least six employees must provide reasonable accommodations like longer break periods or help with manual labor.

Noncompetition agreements with employers

Under House Bill 2992, employers must provide a signed noncompete agreement to employees within 30 days after the termination of the employee’s employment.

Plastic bag ban

Oregon will join California, New York and Hawaii on Jan. 1 by prohibiting retail stores and restaurants from offering single-use plastic bags. Under the Sustainable Shopping Initiative, shoppers who don’t bring a reusable bag will pay a nickel fee at checkout for paper bags, reusable plastic bags and reusable fabric bags. House Bill 2509 is widely applauded as a step toward more sustainable environmental practices.

Rolling bike stop

On Jan. 1, 2020, bicyclists will be allowed to run stop signs and red lights — if the traffic will allow — without stopping. It’s a version of an Idaho bill that lets bike riders treat stop signs as yields.

It’s still illegal to go into an intersection where motor vehicles are moving. If a biker does go into the intersection with traffic, the biker faces a fine of up to $250.

As Bike Portland reported, the vote to pass the bill “was excruciatingly close.” There were 31 ayes and 28 nays.

Oregon bottle bill changes

Oregon’s existing bottle return rules are expanding to include milk and plant-based milk beverages in 4-oz containers and up. Containers that are 3 liters or less that held kombucha or hard seltzer drinks will also be redeemable. The new rules also require redemption centers to register each year with the OLCC and pay a $3,000 fee for each center, the proceeds of which will support the program.

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