Jan. 9, 2019 — During the last legislative session, lawmakers added a few new entries to the state’s law books and, now that the confetti has settled and Father Time has turned the clock ahead to 2019, those laws are in full effect.
The Roadkill Law
Say you like to eat deer but heading to the store is such a chore. Now, in Oregon, residents can simply dine roadside — sort of.
Senate Bill 372 allows for “roadkill salvage,” which basically means that roadkill can now be legally harvested for human consumption. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is responsible for issuing permits that allow the salvage with a catch — heads and antlers must be turned into authorities within five business days and residents cannot go hunting with their vehicles; meaning drivers cannot intentionally run down an animal to eat it.
Other restrictions include the type of animal that can be eaten — white tail deer can only be salvaged in Douglas County and east of the Cascade Mountains. Only deer and elk can be eaten around the rest of the state and the sale of the meat is prohibited.
A new pilot program is aimed at helping whistle-blowers by providing them additional protections under the law.
Senate Bill 1559 establishes a two-year program that allows employees in four state agencies — the Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Department of Human Services, Oregon Department of Transportation and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality — to anonymously report concerns.
The effort will be paired with an online manual that details the proper procedures for whistleblowers and the protections they are afforded.
Under Senate Bill 828, employees can now sue or file a complaint with the state if their employers do not adhere to work scheduling laws which are outlined in the Fair Work Week Act. The legislation mandated that employers with at least 500 employees provide a “good faith estimate” of work hours and provide employees their work schedules a week in advance.
Starting Jan. 1, workers were able to take legal action if those terms were not met by their employer.
In 2017, the state legislature passed the Oregon Equal Pay Act — several key components of the law went into effect at the start of this month. Employees can file against their employers for unpaid wages and should a difference in pay exist between employees, the only acceptable reasons include merit, education, experience and quality of work.
The law is intended to add additional protections to prevent wage disparities on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation, veteran status, marital status, age or disability.
The law also prohibits employers from hiring individuals based on their salary history.
Domestic Violence Laws
Strangulation during the course of a domestic violence incident is now a felony in the state of Oregon. The act was previously considered a misdemeanor.
The “boyfriend loophole” is now closed. Individuals convicted of domestic abuse are barred from owning a firearm under House Bill 4145.
Previously, abusers who were not married to their victim and did not share children with them could maintain their gun ownership, leaving leeway for those who were simply dating the person they were convicted of abusing to own a firearm.
Foster kids in the state can now receive tuition waivers for community college and universities.
As of Jan. 1, students will no longer have to complete 30 hours of community service to qualify if they’ve spent time in the state’s foster care system.
House Bill 4067 expands the definition of special education to allow children with developmental disabilities under the age of 10 to receive free services within the public education system.
Hit and Run
In 2013, sisters Abigail Robinson and Anna Dieter-Eckert were killed when a neighbor hit them with her vehicle while they were playing in a pile of leaves near the street. The neighbor felt what she described as a “bump” but continued driving, not imagining she had hit two children.
The neighbor eventually turned herself in after connecting her car ride to the girls’ deaths and was sentenced to probation and community service.
Anna and Abigail’s Law, in effect as of Jan. 1, requires drivers to return to the scene as soon as they have reason to believe they hit a person or a pet.
The state can no longer consider pension funds or funds being held in a retirement account when determining whether or not a family is eligible for temporary assistance such as food stamps.