A variety of bills came out of the 2017 state legislative session last week — some good, many bad, said State Rep. David Brock Smith, R-Port Orford.

Dock repair

Senate Bill 5530, which allocates lottery bond funds for dock repairs, will put a small dent in the cost the Port of Brookings Harbor will incur to replace the piles holding docks in the sport basin that were undermined by winter storms and floated away.

The bill gives $600,000 toward the repair of the piles, which weren’t long enough to reach bedrock when they were installed. The cost estimate to replace the docks is $3 million.

Tobacco age

Oregon is a governor’s signature away from increasing the age from 18 to 21 for people wanting to buy tobacco products — cigarettes, chew, electronic cigarettes, cigars and other items.

Senate Bill passed the state House on a 39 to 20. It will join California and Hawaii as the only states with the older age requirement.

Proponents say most smoking habits begin in high school, when peer pressure is high, and that high school kids are less inclined to know anyone 21 or older who will buy the cigarettes for them. They also believe it will save taxpayers more than $1.5 billion in annual healthcare costs related to smoking in the United States.

In Oregon, that cost is estimated to be about $700 per taxpayer, according to the American Cancer Society.

The bill was amended so minors are not penalized for having cigarettes in their possession, but rather to make it more difficult for them to buy them in the first place.

Affordable housing

Senate Bill 1051 will require that cities with more than 5,000 citizens finalize decisions within 100 days on housing applications for multi-family developments that include affordable units for low-income families.

It also mandates that cities with more than 2,500 citizens allow accessory dwelling units in all areas zoned as single-family residential, and for low-income housing to be built on church lands if the land is zoned for residential use.

The new legislation also prohibits a city from lowering the density of a proposed development if it is within the designated density of the zone, although cities will retain some authority to reduce density if there are health, safety or habitability concerns or other protections based on land use goals.

More taxes

The legislature approved a $5.3 billion transportation package that will repair aging infrastructure and develop more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly routes, but they come with a price.

House Bill 2017 will increase gas taxes, payroll taxes, vehicle registration fees, new-car sales taxes and implement a sales tax of $15 on bicycles that cost more than $200.

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