New Year, New Laws! 

Six New Laws for Oregon

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LUCKILY, New Year's resolutions aren't legally binding. But the new Oregon laws that went into effect on January 1 are, so listen up or pay the price.

No Texting While Driving: OMG, research shows that driving while using a cell phone can be as dangerous as driving drunk. As of January 1, 2010, no Oregonian under 18 can use a cell phone while driving and adults can only use phones if they're wearing one of those lame-ass hands-free headsets. That means no texting, and technically no dialing, unless it's 911. Don't make the first Twitpic you post this year be an iPhone snapshot of an officer writing you a $90 ticket. link to law

No TV Dumps: Going Office Space on your old television or computer is now a punishable crime in Oregon. Covered Electronic Devices (CEDs) like monitors and laptops can leak toxic chemicals like lead and mercury, so now it's illegal to dump them anywhere but a certified "e-cycler," which includes most Goodwills and Free Geek (1731 SE 10th). Taking a dump ON your TV is still legal in most circumstances. link to law

Renters' Rights: Starting in 2010, landlords now have to give you at least 60 days before booting you out with a no-cause eviction (unless you're on a month-to-month lease, in which case they still have to give you 30 days). If the house you're renting gets foreclosed on, the new owner has to honor the length of your original lease unless they're going to occupy the house as their primary residence, in which case they have to give you at least 90 days to get out. link to law

It's Prayer Time! Businesses are now required to allow workers to wear religious clothing and take time off for religious holidays unless it would create "significant cost" or "undue hardship" on the business. Whether that means praying once a year or once a day does not matter; both are legally protected as time you should be allowed off. link to law

Online Voter Registration: As of March 1, the state elections office will finally move into the 21st century and you will be able to register to vote on "the internet." Whatever that is. link to law

Hetero Military Leave: If your significant other is a member of the armed forces, your employer now has to allow you 14 days of unpaid "military leave" to see your spouse off or welcome them home. (link to law) Unless, of course, you are gay and therefore your significant other cannot be your spouse. Sorry, not all the bad laws were changed in 2009. Maybe next year.

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