A Month into Oregon’s New Distracted Driving Law

It has been a little over a month since Oregon’s new distracted driving law took effect.  Many local police departments have been giving drivers warnings, but any grace period is coming to an end. To get caught up on the law, click HERE to check out an informational video from the Beaverton Police Department. You can also click HERE to read a quick summary of the highligh...
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Distracted Driving Law Goes Into Effect Next Week

Oregon’s new distracted driving law goes into effect on October 1, 2017, which will make it easier for police to cite drivers who are using cellphones (and other electronic devices) behind the wheel.  Drivers will be prohibited from using any phone functions that require holding the device or touching it for more than a single swipe or press of a button. Here are some quick ...
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Supreme Court Updates: Trademarking “Disparaging” Terms

The Slants, an Asian-American rock band, have the right to trademark their name – even though it may be considered disparaging and offensive – according to a recent Supreme Court ruling. After the US Patent and Trademark Office refused to register the band’s name based on past legal interpretations barring trademarks of disparaging terms, the band’s frontman, Simon Tam, file...
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Supreme Court Updates: Sex Offenders and Social Media

A unanimous Supreme Court struck down a North Carolina law aimed at preventing convicted sex offenders from using social media platforms, like Facebook or Twitter. The case was based on a North Carolina sex offender who posted on Facebook (using an alias) after he beat a traffic ticket.  His post read: “No fine. No Court costs. No nothing.  Praise be to God.  Wow.  Thanks, J...
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Oregon Adding Non-Binary Option to Licenses and Identification Cards

Starting in July, Oregonians who would like to have a non-binary gender option on their official identification cards and driver's licenses will be able to make the switch.  Oregon is the first state in the nation to allow residents to identify their gender as "X," rather than "M" or "F." The change stems from a court ruling last year that recognized someone as non-binary an...
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Lawyer Trust Accounts

Lawyer Trust Accounts, sometimes also called Client Trust Accounts, are used by lawyers to hold client payments and retainer funds that are provided in advance of work being performed. Attorneys hold unearned client funds in such accounts.  The funds remain in that account until work on a matter is invoiced (or, in some cases, a matter is completed entirely).  Attorneys cann...
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New Laws in Effect for 2017: Sky Lantern Ban

Sky lanterns are small hot air balloons made of paper.  When lit, the flame at the bottom of the lanterns heat the air and cause them to rise in the sky.  The lanterns have often been lit in celebrations or just for fun. Of course, once lit, a user cannot control where a sky lantern will fly, which has become an ever increasing concern as severe wildfires have occurred throu...
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New Laws in Effect for 2017: Sex Crimes Prosecutions

As of January 1, first degree sex crimes prosecutions that normally have a 12 year statute of limitations may have an unlimited statute of limitations when there is additional corroborating evidence of the crime. Examples of corroborating evidence can be physical evidence (not DNA), a confession by the defendant, or when multiple victims come forward alleging similar crimes....
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New Laws in Effect for 2017: Social Media After Death

As of January 1, a new law is in place allowing certain fiduciaries to have limited access to a person’s online user accounts. The Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act addresses access to digital data when a user dies or is incapacitated.  The Act allows a fiduciary, such as a personal representative, trustee, or conservator, to access certain content and p...
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New Laws in Effect for 2017: E-Fare Transit Funds

Last week I posted about lost funds held by the State and how you can claim funds you are owed. As of January 1, there is a new exception to the unclaimed property law, which excludes unused electronic transit funds from being sent to the State.  Senate Bill 1527 went into effect on January 1 so that Trimet and other transit systems that use cash-free fare systems (such as p...
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Parental Leave Policies OFLA

Parents and parents-to-be often have questions when they learn of the expected arrival of a new family addition regarding what leave they can take from work under the law.  Some people are unaware of how expansive their leave options may even be. Here are some things to keep in mind under the Oregon Family Leave Act: Employer Requirements – For OFLA to apply, an employe...
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Domestic Abusers Can Lose Gun Rights

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled 6-2 in Voisine et al. v. United States that people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors can be barred from gun ownership.  Even misdemeanor DV convictions are sufficient to invoke a federal ban on firearms possession. In Voisine, the plaintiffs were two men who pled guilty in state court of misdemeanor assault charges for slapping an...
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Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Death Row Inmate Race Discrimination Case

Last week the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Timothy Foster, an African-American death row inmate in Georgia, allowing Mr. Foster to return to state court and argue for a new trial based on racial bias in the selection of his jury. Mr. Foster was convicted of the 1986 murder of Queen Madge White, an elderly white woman.  An all-white jury convicted him. A previous 1986 S...
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New Overtime Rule Brings Pay Raise to Many Salaried Workers

A new Department of Labor rule issued last week will give a boost to millions of salaried workers who have been excluded from making overtime pay.  Since 2004, salaried employees making $23,660 or more have not collected time-and-a-half overtime pay if their jobs fell in certain employment classifications set by their employers.  The $23,660 threshold was set in 2004 and has no...
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Happy Tax Day!

I hope you all have your taxes completed and filed since they are due today.  Even though Tax Day is usually April 15, the Emancipation Day holiday in the District of Columbia gave procrastinators a three-day extension.   Why you ask? Well, Emancipation Day is celebrated on April 16 in Washington DC.  Since April 16 is a Saturday this year, the holiday was celebrated on Apri...
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Oregon’s New Minimum Wage = Nation’s Highest

Last week, Governor Kate Brown signed Oregon’s new minimum wage law.  The law not only sets up the highest statewide minimum wage rates in the country, but also enacts the first tiered system that staggers the minimum wage in different parts of the state. What does this mean for the average worker?  Starting July 1, 2016, a series of minimum wage increases will start to occu...
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Social Media and Employers

With the pervasive use of social media, potential employees often need to think about what they are posting and who can see it.  If a desired employer searches for you, will they find photos of your family gatherings or pictures of keg cups and parties? Oregon law prevents employers from being able to request your user name and password for your personal social media account...
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2016 Legal Updates: Extension of the Statute of Limitations for Sex Crimes

The statute limitations has been extended for certain sex crimes in order to provide a longer period of time for serious sex offenses to be prosecuted.  The original statute of limitations was six years, but has now been doubled to extend to 12 years after the commission of a crime or, if the victim was a minor at the time of the crime, any time before the victim turns 30 years...
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2016 Legal Updates: Keeping Domestic Abusers from Accessing Firearms

As of January 1, 2016, a person who is subject to court orders protecting an intimate partner, a child of the person, or the child of an intimate partner, or who has been convicted of certain misdemeanor crimes against a family member will be prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition. While existing federal law has barred people from having guns if they are subject ...
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2016 Legal Updates: Access to Birth Control

Pharmacists in Oregon may now prescribe and dispense birth control patches and pills to adults regardless of whether or not they have a current or previous prescription from a primary care physician or other qualified doctor.  If a person seeks birth control and is under the age of 18, a pharmacist may prescribe and dispense birth control if that person has evidence of a previo...
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