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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 Year Means New Laws In Oregon

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Beginning January 1, it will be illegal to release sky lanterns in Oregon at any time of year. They were previously banned only during fire season.

The new year means a new slate of 18 laws will take effect in Oregon. That's a relatively small number because the 2016 legislative session was just five weeks long. Most of the bills that were passed during the session have taken effect already.

Among the new laws is one aimed at preventing wildfires. Starting January 1, it will be against the law to release sky lanterns in Oregon. Sky lanterns essentially are miniature hot air balloons. But of course, there's no one along for the ride.

And that's a problem, according to Rich Hoover with the Oregon State Fire Marshall's office.

"What you're essentially doing is, when it releases your control, you are letting go an open flame and you have no control over what direction it takes or where it ends up landing,” Hoover said. “And that's an extreme fire hazard."

Sky lanterns were already banned in Oregon during fire season. The new law extends that ban year-round. Other new laws taking effect include one that attempts to crack down on unlicensed immigration attorneys and one that increases penalties for poaching certain kinds of wildlife.

Here is the full list of all the new laws kicking in this weekend:

  • SB1503 Repeals sunset on requirement that insurer reimburse licensed physician assistants and certified nurse practitioners for primary care services that are reimbursed by insurer if provided by licensed physician.
  • SB1517 Authorizes governing body of Tillamook County to, by ordinance or regulation, adopt pilot program for establishing, subject to provisions related to conditional uses of areas zoned for exclusive farm use, creation, restoration or enhancement of wetlands.
  • SB1524 Exempts certain service-disabled veterans who are registry identification cardholders for purposes of medical use of marijuana from requirement to submit updated documentation of debilitating medical condition as part of application for renewal.
  • SB1527 Exempts prepaid transportation cards from Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act and related statutes.
  • SB 1554 Enacts Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act
  • SB 1567 Creates crime of criminal impersonation
  • SB 1599 Establishes July 1, 2015, as date for determination of total number of registered electors in this state for purpose of maintaining status as major political party through 2018 general election.
  • SB1600 Authorizes prosecution of first-degree sex crimes any time after commission of crime if prosecuting attorney obtains corroborating evidence of crime
  • HB 4019 Clarifies duties of Executive Director of the Office of Student Access and Completion.
  • HB 4046 Increases damages for unlawful taking or killing of wildlife.
  • HB 4053 Expands permissible activities for brewery licensee.
  • HB 4067 Provides affirmative defense to public employee and certain nonprofit employee whistleblowers who provide lawfully accessed information to state or federal regulatory agency, law enforcement agency, manager employed by employer or employee's attorney .
  • HB 4082 Expands crime of promoting prostitution to include receiving goods, services or other things of value derived from prostitution activity in certain circumstances.
  • HB 4104 Defines "limited benefit coverage." Excludes health insurance offering limited benefit coverage from certain statutory requirements for health insurance coverage.
  • HB 4106: Requires agencies to report annually to Legislative Assembly information related to their use of temporary rulemaking procedures.
  • HB 4121 Cancels 2017 restoration of Construction Contractors Board contested case process.
  • HB 4128 Expands crime of obstructing governmental or judicial administration to include engaging in business of notary public or immigration consultant without authorization.
  • HB 4140 Prohibits release of sky lantern in Oregon airspace