Adequate Funding Needed to Support Court: Op Ed Article

The Oregon State Legislature is currently in full session and debating a proposed budget for Governor Brown’s approval. At stake is funding for our Oregon Courts. The Judicial Branch currently receives less than 3% of the total budget even though it is one of our three branches of government. SYK partner, Chris Costantino, in her role as President of the Oregon State Bar this year co-authored an article which was recently published in The Oregonian outlining the need to adequately fund our state courts in the 2019 budget. Right now, only one court house in the entire state is providing public services full time; other courts have limited time to answer phone calls or in-person requests. This is because court staffing has been cut by more than 12% since 2009.

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Free 24/7 Senior Loneliness Line: A Caring Call

Clackamas County has launched a free and confidential 24/7 call-in at 503.200.1633 (or 800.282.7035) for adults older than 55 who live in Clackamas County. The Senior Loneliness Line supports seniors in the community who are feeling lonely, anxious, or having difficulty connecting. Staff members are primarily trained under Lines for Life, to be well-equipped for crisis management training and suicide prevention. Staff members are also mandatory reporters and have been trained on how to fill out reports to Adult Protective Services.

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Attorneys Blachly & Pasieczny Present on Combating Financial Elder Abuse

Today, over 46 million Americans are 65 years of age or older. This accounts for nearly 15% of the population. According to the Population Reference Bureau, that number is projected to more than double by the year 2060. It will reach an estimated 98 million and 24% of the U.S. population. Approximately 1 out of every 10 Americans, age 60 and older have experienced some form of elder abuse. Estimates of financial elder abuse and fraud costs range from $2.9 billion to $36.5 billion annually

On Thursday, February 21st, SYK attorneys Victoria Blachly and Darlene Pasieczny will speak to the Oregon State Bar Securities Regulation Section about financial elder abuse in the securities industry. Their program “Recent Tools to Combat Financial Elder Abuse: Mandatory and Permissive Conduct Under FINRA Rules and Oregon Law for Securities Professionals,” will take a closer look at Oregon statues and FINRA rules regarding mandatory and permissive conduct for brokers and investment advisers when there is reasonable suspicion of financial abuse.

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Give to Live & Be the Inspiration for Positive Change

Friend of the firm, Arlene Cogen, has the #1 new release in Finance on Amazon – Give to Live: Make a Charitable Gift You Never Imagined.

“This is a love story about your finances, taking care of family and making a difference. Whether you are new to charitable giving or simply keen to improve your understanding of giving and philanthropy, this is your book. It will free you from the haze of the complicated jargon, break things down in understandable terms and share ways to effectively and meaningfully include philanthropy in your life.”

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Life after Wayfair: Congress Steps In

We’re not ashamed to admit we’re a bit nerdy when it comes to tax matters. We always love talking/reading/studying (… eating/sleeping/living) tax and tax-related things. But even we think it’s been more exciting than usual in the world of state tax this summer!

The Supreme Court handed down its opinion in South Dakota v. Wayfair on June 21, 2018. Immediately after that, there was a flurry of activity as each state tried to address implementation of the “new” regime that would allow them to tax out of state vendors of tangible personal property into their states. Our initial look at Washington’s and California’s responses is here. Since then, lawmakers in dozens of states have proposed or introduced versions of the South Dakota law that attempt to tax remote sellers.

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Oregon Shifts Heavy Equipment Personal Property Tax Burden to Contractors starting in 2019

Large and small heavy equipment rental providers throughout the state of Oregon recently scored a huge victory when Governor Brown signed HB 4139 into law earlier last month. The new law replaces Oregon’s existing personal property tax system for heavy equipment with a 2 percent tax on every heavy equipment rental transaction starting in 2019. While many states have either eliminated personal property tax or have exempted certain manufacturing and construction businesses from ad valorem property tax, Oregon was one of the few remaining that offered no relief or reform of any kind for heavy equipment rental providers. Critics often cited the compliance costs associated with the business personal property tax as complex and burdensome in a way that discouraged many companies from accurately reporting. The old system was a location-based tax, meaning that a company would be taxed on heavy machinery it owned based on where it was sitting on January 1 of that year. Heavy equipment rental businesses often rent their equipment out all over the state and beyond, so tracking location of constantly moving equipment for tax purposes proved difficult and also created the potential of requiring companies to pay additional tax in multiple counties or states on the same equipment where assessment dates varied.

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Productive & Positive Planning for Aging: Check Your To Do List

A recent article broke down the often daunting and ignored tasks that make for good planning decisions when you or a loved one ages – – well in advance of when one’s ability to make such decisions may be taken away by changing physical or mental health – or the involvement of a court, in some cases. The article breaks it down into three categories.

As with many important decisions in our lives, knowledge is power, so arm yourselves accordingly. Naturally, the legal documents to effectuate your ultimate decisions are also a necessary part of the planning process, so make sure your estate planning attorney knows your plan, to make sure everything is in place to meet your legal needs.

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Changing Your Name and Gender in Oregon

Oregon is on the move to become a more transgender and non-binary friendly state.

In 2016, an Oregon judge allowed Jamie Shupe, a person who identified as non-binary to change their identity to a neutral third gender. The judge’s decision to allow a non-binary gender is widely believed to be the first of its kind in the United States.

After this decision, Oregon gained momentum in creating a more streamlined process for those who wished to change their name and gender. Changing one’s name and gender used to be a complicated process which was different county to county and which could not always be accomplished alone.

However, starting in 2017, the State of Oregon Judicial Department began providing statewide forms for both adults and minors who want to change their name and/or gender. The petition allows the applicant to decide whether they want to identify as male, female, or non-binary. The forms provide instructions for filling out a petition, where to file the petition, and how much filing the petition costs.

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Hands-Free Really Means Just That: Oregon Stiffens Ban on Distracted Driving

Oregon had allowed limited use of smart phones while driving, but beginning October 1, it is now illegal for drivers to use or hold an electronic mobile device. You are allowed a single touch or swipe to activate or deactivate a device or function, but do not talk on speaker mode while holding your phone, or you could be looking at a fine of $130 to $1,000 for your first offense, $220 to $2,500 for your second offense and a minimum of $2,000 and up to 6 months in jail for a third offense.

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