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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

New Oregon Laws: Taxes, Texting, Tethering And Tanning

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Jason Weaver
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Flickr
The fine for texting while driving is set to double in the new year.

Call it the year of the "T." Some of the new laws set to take effect in Oregon when the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve involve taxes, texting, tethering and teen tanning.

First, the taxes. Cigarettes will cost 13 cents more per pack. But the increase isn't enough to phase some smokers in downtown Salem.

"If it was drastic, I would care," says Justin Miller, who goes through about three packs a week. "Actually, if they increased it enough I would quit for sure, because of the cost."

The fine for texting while driving doubles in the new year, topping out at $500.

Another new law will limit the amount of time someone can tether their dog outside. The restrictions are meant to prevent people from leaving their pet permanently chained up.

Also in 2014, Oregon teens won't be able to head down to the tanning salon anymore, unless they have a note from their doctor. Supporters of the restriction say it’s aimed at preventing skin cancer. Opponents called it an unfair intrusion of government into private life