Luckily, resolutions aren't legally binding. But there is a handful of new Oregon laws going into effect January 1st, so learn them right or pay the price. Here's a helpful round up.

None of This Texting While Driving Business: This is the law everyone's talking about. People under 18 are now not allowed to use any kind of cell phone while driving a car and adults can use only hands-free cell phones. That means no texting, no holding the phone up to your ear with one hand while steering with the other and, technically, no dialing with your fingers. Fines for driving while yapping start at $90. This law follows on the heels of research showing that driving while using a cell phone is as dangerous as driving drunk. Yikes. More info on the new law here.

Renters Rights: Thanks to Senate Bill 771, 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 give you at least 90 days to get out and has to honor the length of your original lease unless they're going to occupy the house as their primary residence. Also, move-in, move-out fees are now illegal! So are cleaning fees, though cleaning deposits are still legit. A break down of the new laws is here (pdf).

Religious Freedom Act: Businesses do not have to build special prayer rooms or anything for their employees, but they are now required to allow workers to wear religious clothing and take time off for religious holidays unless it would create "some type of burden or undue hardship" on the business. Whether that means praying once a year or once a day does not matter, both are now protected by law. More info here.

Family Military Leave: Oregon businesses with 25 or more employees must (in most circumstances) allow any employee married to a member of the armed forces to take 14 days unpaid “military leave.” Husbands and wives can use that time to prepare for their military spouse’s imminent deployment or visit with the military spouse during periods of leave from deployment. Couple that with the new burlesque classes for army wives and we're looking down the scope at a military baby boom.

Whistleblower Protection: The legislature dramatically expanded protection given to Oregon’s whistleblowers. Starting in January, private employers cannot discriminate or retaliate against an employee who has “in good faith reported information that the employee believes is evidence of a violation of a state or federal law, rule or regulation,” regardless of the severity or importance of the alleged violation. How this differs from before is a little complicated, more info here.

Online Voter Registration: As we discussed yesterday, print is dead! As of March 1st, the state's online voter registration system should be up and running, allowing you to register to vote online for the May primary. Long live the internets.