PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A slate of new Oregon laws went into effect Sunday, which lawmakers say will address the housing crisis, create new jobs and boost the economy, the Oregon Senate and House Majority offices announced in a joint press release.
Oregon Child Tax Credit
During the 2023 legislative session, lawmakers passed the Oregon Kids’ Tax Credit (HB 3235), a refundable $1,000 tax credit per child between the ages of zero and five for families earning $30,000 or less.
According to the Oregon Center for Public Policy, almost 55,000 children in Oregon will benefit from the credit, especially in rural communities and communities of color.
Tax breaks for “middle housing”
To address Oregon’s housing crisis, SB 919 aims to help local governments incentivize new construction. Under the bill, local governments can exempt newly constructed accessory dwelling units, duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes from local property taxes for five years if the new units are used as a primary residence.
Officials said the law will ensure that the tax break will only go towards housing stock for Oregonians and not “out-of-staters with short term rentals.”
New Antitrust laws
Oregon updated its antitrust laws with SB 310 — increasing civil and criminal penalties for antitrust law violations from $250,000 to $1 million.
The law allows the attorney general to seek equitable relief, disgorgement of gains along with injunctive and monetary relief.
SB 310 also increases the criminal penalty from Class A Misdemeanor to Class B Felony.
Aiming to bolster the state’s economy, HB 2009 will boost Oregon’s semiconductor and advanced manufacturing industries, which comes after the state passed the Oregon CHIPS Law earlier in the legislative session.
HB 2009 includes a research and development tax credit and extends the enterprise zone program to create long-term jobs throughout the state.
SB 1048 directs the Oregon Department of Transportation to create a small business development program to help small businesses compete for ODOT public improvement contracts.
Lawmakers also passed HB 2295, which broadens public contracting preference for businesses that service-disabled veterans own to include all veteran-owned businesses.
Lawmakers passed SB 594 to raise wages for hazardous jobs including jobs construction, street painting, removing hazardous waste from roadways and buildings in public improvement projects or on property owned by the state.
Behavioral health funding
Lawmakers also passed funding for the 988 Suicide & Behavioral Health Line’s call centers and mobile crisis response system for 24/7 availability across Oregon under HB 2757. Officials said 988 resolves or de-escalates nearly 97% of calls over the phone in Oregon.
Street racing penalties
SB 615 increases penalties for street racing and will “empower” law enforcement with new tools to deter racing. Under the law, a person convicted of street racing can face a maximum of 364 days of imprisonment and/or a $6,250 fine. The bill further punishes street racing for subsequent convictions with a maximum of five years’ imprisonment and/or a $125,000 fine and law enforcement will be allowed to seize street racers’ cars.
Supporting survivors of sex trafficking
SB 745 aims to support survivors of sex trafficking by requiring the juvenile justice system to determine if those taken into custody are survivors of sex trafficking and to connect them with resources.
In a statement lauding the bills, Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber (D – Beaverton & SW Portland) said “during the 2023 Legislative Session, Democrats stood up for hard working Oregonians. We delivered for the parents stretching their budgets further and further to keep a roof over their kids’ heads. We invested in sustainable, family-wage jobs that will support this generation and the next, and we stood up emergency services that will save Oregon lives. There’s more to do, but our state will be stronger because of this work.”
House Majority Leader Julie Fahey (D – West Eugene & Veneta) added,“the work we achieved this year will make sure Oregon continues to be a great place to live, work, and raise a family. We’re putting money back into working families’ pockets and making sure Oregonians have more housing options, quality health care, stronger schools, and good paying jobs — and we’re committed to continuing this work into 2024 and beyond.”