Legislative Update – 2024 Brings New Laws to Oregon

As the calendar flipped to 2024, Oregon ushered in a host of new laws that will impact its residents in various ways. From traffic regulations to drug policy, and tax breaks to housing conversions, these freshly inked bills reflect the state’s ongoing efforts to address challenges and improve the quality of life for its citizens. Here’s an overview of some key Oregon bills that took effect starting January 1, providing an insight into the changes Oregonians can expect in the new year.

Restaurants and Retail

Ban on Foam Containers: Senate Bill 543 prohibits the use of Styrofoam and other polystyrene takeout containers for prepared food. This ban addresses environmental concerns associated with polystyrene, a non-biodegradable material that can persist for centuries, causing pollution in waterways and posing a threat to fish and wildlife.

Crackdown on Shoplifting: Senate Bill 340, equips law enforcement with enhanced tools to combat organized retail theft rings. This legislation streamlines the process of prosecuting repeat shoplifters and enforces stricter penalties, fortifying the fight against theft.


Affordable Housing: House Bill 2761 broadens the capacity of Oregon Housing and Community Services to fund projects aimed at providing affordable housing. This legislation streamlines the agency’s ability to finance housing development initiatives catering to low-income households.

Simplifying Housing Conversions: House Bill 2984 simplifies the process of transforming commercial buildings into residential housing, eliminating bureaucratic obstacles. This legislation specifically applies to cities with a population of at least 10,000, ensuring that developments do not encroach upon land designated for heavy industry. Its primary aim is to address the state’s housing shortage by granting cities the ability to convert commercial buildings into residential housing within their urban growth boundaries.

Insurance Immunity for Wildfire Maps: Senate Bill 82 prevents insurers from canceling policies or increasing premiums solely based on a home’s location on the statewide wildfire risk map. Furthermore, it mandates insurers to provide homeowners with information on how they can reduce premiums by implementing fire-resistant building materials to safeguard their homes from wildfires.


Speed Cameras throughout Oregon: House Bill 2095 empowers all Oregon cities to employ photo radar for enforcing traffic laws, specifically targeting speeding violations, while also removing limitations on the hours photo radar can be used at any given location. Cities now have the authority to establish lower speed limits than those set by the state, allowing for a variance of up to ten miles per hour less than the speed limit defined in state law.

Changes to DUII Law: House Bill 2316 expands the state’s law on driving under the influence of intoxicants to encompass all impairing drugs, not just liquor, cannabis, psilocybin, and controlled substances. The bill also lowers fines and penalties for individuals apprehended cycling under the influence, as they are perceived to pose a lesser risk than drivers. It is important to note, however, that these exceptions do not apply if a person’s blood alcohol content reaches at least 0.15% or if they are operating an e-bike.

Drug Treatment

Drug Decriminalization Tweaks: House Bill 2513 brings about amendments to Measure 110, the voter-approved initiative that decriminalized possession of small amounts of drugs and allocates a portion of cannabis revenue towards addiction treatment and recovery services. This legislation enhances staffing and streamlines the application process, enabling organizations to secure funding and commence assisting individuals more promptly. Additionally, it introduces modifications to ensure that the state receives accurate and improved data concerning Measure 110 programs.

Youth Fentanyl Education: Oregon’s Senate Bill 238 mandates the collaboration between public health and education officials to create a curriculum aimed at educating the youth about the escalating fentanyl overdoses and the perils of opioid use.

Preventing Opioid Overdoses: Under Senate Bill 1043, hospitals and addiction treatment facilities are mandated to provide patients with two doses of naloxone, the medication used to reverse opioid overdoses, upon discharge if they sought treatment for opioid abuse. The bill offers protection to those who administer naloxone from potential lawsuits.

Addiction Treatment for Inmates: Senate Bill 529 aims to streamline access to intensive addiction programs and diverse treatment options for incarcerated individuals. This legislation recognizes substance use disorders as chronic illnesses that require treatment.

Families and Education

Oregon Kids Credit: Low-income families can now benefit from a new tax credit aimed at addressing early childhood poverty. Known as the Oregon Kids Credit, this initiative passed under House Bill 3235, offers a credit of $1,000 for each child under the age of 6 for families with an annual income of $25,000 or less. Families earning up to $30,000 per year are eligible for reduced credits.

Domestic Partnerships: Under House Bill 2032, adult couples 18 and older, regardless of gender, can enter into Oregon-registered domestic partnerships, which have the same rights and benefits as marriage.

 School HVAC Systems: House Bill 3031 helps Oregon schools in obtain federal funding for the enhancement of heating, cooling, and ventilation systems, as well as the installation of carbon dioxide monitors in classrooms. The primary objective of this legislation is to enhance air quality within schools and combat the spread of airborne germs.

Student Financial Literacy: Starting in 2027, Senate Bill 3 mandates that high school students must receive personal finance education as a graduation requirement. Additionally, the law necessitates the inclusion of a career path skills class, encompassing essential skills such as job interview preparation and resume building.

Nurse Training: Senate Bill 523 addresses the nursing shortage in Oregon by permitting community colleges to provide bachelor of science degrees in nursing. The Higher Education Coordinating Commission will review and approve applications from colleges seeking to initiate bachelor’s degree programs in nursing.

Crime and Punishment

“Paramilitary Activity” and “Domestic Terrorism”: House Bill 2572 grants the attorney general the authority to investigate acts of organized paramilitary activities. The bill empowers the attorney general to approach a judge for an injunction against planned paramilitary activities aimed at intimidating others or violating the freedom of speech. The bill also establishes the right of individuals who have suffered harm from a paramilitary group to seek legal recourse.

Domestic Terrorism: In a parallel effort, House Bill 2772 makes domestic terrorism a crime when it targets “critical infrastructure” like utilities, airports, roads, and dams, or when it sends out a “toxic substance,” such as chemical and biological weapons.

Body Armor: Senate Bill 618 empowers courts to impose more severe sentences on criminal defendants who are found guilty of committing a crime while wearing body armor. The legislation also applies to instances where individuals attempt to evade the consequences of their actions while wearing such protective gear.

Sex Crimes: House Bill 3632 extends the statute of limitations for first-degree sex crimes. Currently set at 12 years, the new provision extends this period to 20 years. In cases involving minors, the statute of limitations expires either after 20 years or when the victim turns 30 years old, whichever comes later.

Healthcare and Mental Health Needs

Cell Phone Tax: House Bill 2757 proposes the implementation of a 40-cent tax on cell phone bills to support the state’s 988 behavioral health crisis hotline. The revenue generated from this tax is estimated to be around $26 million per year, which will be allocated towards operating the hotline and facilitating the deployment of mobile crisis response teams.

Mental Health Treatment: House Bill 3426 mandates that 988 crisis hotline centers provide training to their staff on effectively assisting firefighters, paramedics, and police officers who reach out to the crisis hotline. Recognizing the heightened risk of suicide among first responders, this law aims to ensure that the necessary support is readily available through the 988-crisis line.

Breast Cancer Screenings: Senate Bill 1041 requires commercial insurance companies to fully cover all medically necessary breast cancer diagnostic tests, imaging, and exams. Insurers usually cover mammograms, but not all plans cover ultrasounds and other diagnostic tests.

Hospital Charity Care: House Bill 3320 mandates that hospitals take additional measures to assist low-income patients in accessing their financial assistance programs, commonly known as charity care. This legislation requires hospitals to enhance patient awareness regarding their eligibility for charity care and provide guidance on the application process.

Prosthetic Care: Senate Bill 797 requires health insurers to cover the costs of medically necessary prosthetic and orthotic devices that aid people with weakened or missing limbs.

HIV Prevention Drugs: House Bill 2574 prevents health insurers from imposing charges on patients for the expenses associated with HIV prevention drugs given after a potential exposure. These charges include co-payments and increased premiums. The legislation mandates hospitals to establish policies for the distribution of post-exposure prophylactic drugs and requires the Oregon Health Authority to supply them to rural hospitals without any cost.

More Laws and Information

In addition to laws going into effect on January 1, Oregon’s annual legislative session, which ended June 25, 2023, saw  the Legislature pass 653 of the 2,976 bills, memorials and resolutions introduced during the 2023 session.

Of the bills, memorials, and resolutions that the Legislature passed, several directly or indirectly impact the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). Read on to learn more about these enactments.