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New Oregon laws take effect New Year's Day

By Joe Burns
Published On: Dec 31 2012 08:37:28 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 31 2012 10:13:50 PM CST

As we ring in the new year, we will also be ringing in some new laws here in Oregon.

BEND, Ore. -

Fourteen new Oregon laws take effect starting New Year's Day -- everything from new funding for a forestry education center to new laws about recycling light bulbs.

But perhaps one of the more poignant new laws requires college workers to report child abuse.

After Penn State Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky was accused and later convicted of having sex with minors, there's a new law for Oregon.

All college workers, from janitors to professors, are on the list of mandatory reporters for child abuse and neglect.

"It does make sense that they are moving to this now, because there is more and more children being involved on campus, and kids need to be safe," Healthy Beginnings Executive Director Holly Remer said Monday.

Healthy Beginnings provides health screenings for kids.

Remer said she was a little surprised to learn college workers weren't already required by law to report.

Current law already includes a variety of professionals from teachers to clergy who must report when they suspect a child is being abused.

But now the law makes clear -- workers in higher education need to as well.  

"Any time you bring awareness in the community and at a state level that children need protection, and they are not always protected, you think it does improve the outcomes for kids," Remer said. "Connecting families to services is always the best way to stop" abuse.

Another new state law makes health plans pay for coverage on surgeries for birth defects like cleft lips and cleft palates.

ODOT now may cut down or remove trees without getting permission from any local government.

Convicted drunk drivers will have to install an ignition interlock device in their car for five years after getting their license back.

And jewelry dealers will have to keep track of each transaction, to help police catch crooks.

One Jan. 1 change, a higher minimum wage, isn't because of a new law but a 2002 ballot measure.

Beginning on Tuesday, those workers will see an increase of 15 cents, as  the state's minimum wage rises to $8.95 per hour.

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