New Year Means New 2014 Laws

New 2014 laws

Happy New Year! Law Offices of Devin Robinson wishes you and your family and friends a happy, healthy New Year. Below, I note a handful of new 2014 laws for Oregon, Washington, and California, that regard your health and safety. These aren’t all the new 2014 laws, just ones of interest to me.

OREGON’S NEW 2014 LAWS

TOBACCO

Adults will no longer be allowed to smoke in an automobile while kids are occupying it. The ticket for the first offense is $250.00 and for a second offense is $500.00. Likewise, cigarette taxes will climb 13 cents to $1.31 a pack.

We here at the firm are big fans of personal freedom, but we’re also big fans of tobacco cessation and preventing tobacco-related diseases. As an attorney who has represented numerous people with lung cancer, and who lost his law partner to (granted, not tobacco-related) lung cancer, this is an issue that resonates with me. Weighing it all out, these are good laws that will hopefully prevent children from breathing in harmful second-hand smoke in the cramped confines of their parents’ cars and make smoking too expensive for many to start.

If quitting smoking is your New Year resolution, please check out some of the helpful tips here: http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/

Distracted Driving

I signed up a new client the other day, a nice young lady who suffered two leg fractures when a driver who was using a cell phone and not paying attention crashed into her and threw her from her motorcycle. Our distracted driving laws lack teeth, as the fines are miniscule. Thankfully, the Legislature has taken note and the fines are going up.

Starting on the first, standard fines for using a cellphone while driving will increase $50 to $160, and judges will be allowed to go as high as $500 — double the current maximum. So far in 2013, Oregon State Police troopers have nabbed 3,500 people for such violations and issued another 1,600 warnings, Lt. Gregg Hastings said. That’s up from 2,151 citations and 1,878 warnings last year.

Read more about how you can stop distracted driving from the fine folks at End Distracted Driving: http://enddd.org/

WASHINGTON’S NEW 2014 LAWS

Marijuana

Washington is currently set to allow marijuana sales at some point in the middle of the year. While I personally couldn’t care less about what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes, I worry that with more readily available potent marijuana there may be more impaired driving. If you choose to partake, please don’t drive while under the influence. Further, marijuana usage is still against Federal law so know that you are putting yourself at risk of arrest for possession or use of marijuana in Washington. Using marijuana in public is still against the law, as well; don’t risk arrest.

CALIFORNIA’S NEW 2014 LAWS

Medical Leave

The state is expanding family leave rights up to six weeks if you have a new baby or to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, domestic partner, or parent. Beginning in 2014, California is extending the paid family leave rights to enable workers to care for siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, and even in parents-in-law. This is a great  expansion for workers to be able to take care of health matters without worrying about losing their jobs.