Hill to Hall: Jan. 14–19

Jan. 14: Los Angeles teachers enter fifth day of strike for contract renegotiations

Over 32,000 teachers in Los Angeles County—the second biggest school district in the United States—began a strike for reduced class sizes, a pause on the surge of new charter schools and more educators, nurses and support staff. The district board has refused to close schools despite a student/teacher ratio reaching 250-to-1. In an interview with The New York Times, President of United Teachers Los Angeles Alex Caputo-Pearl said they “need to see a bigger commitment to reinvesting in neighborhood public schools” before ending the strike, which continues into the weekend with no resolution on the horizon.

Jan. 17: Administration underreported child separation at border, pursued deliberate asylum deterrence policy

A new report by The New York Times states the U.S. government may be concealing or may be unaware of the total number of children forcibly separated from their guardians at the southern border. A separate report by NBC News revealed a White House policy draft from 2017 outlining steps to implement a deliberate family separation policy designed to deter asylum seekers. Nearly 3,000 children have been separated under the “zero tolerance” executive order last year, and there is no formal tracking system between the departments responsible for the children, so hundreds may have gone unrecorded. An additional 700 children were separated in the months before the executive order.

Jan. 17: Ted Wheeler endorses new rent control policies

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler endorsed a statewide rent control bill to be considered in the 2019 session of the Oregon legislature, according to Portland Tribune. The bill will limit annual rent increases to seven percent in buildings 15 years or older, and prohibit “no-cause evictions for tenants who have lived in their building for at least a year,” according to Willamette Week. The Oregon legislature will reconvene on Jan. 22, where the bill—widely regarded as controversial—will make its first appearance in front of the supermajority of Democrats in the Oregon Legislature House and Senate.

Jan. 19: Women’s march marks third annual global protest

The International Women’s March took place in 31 states within the U.S. and 14 countries across the world. The march tradition began in January 2017 as an open protest to the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump but has continued as a symbol of intersectional feminism and prioritizing federal policy changes, according to the 2019 Women’s March agenda. The branch of the International Women’s March set to take place in Portland was rescheduled for March 3 of 2019 in order to not overlap with MLK weekend. A set of smaller protests occurred on Jan. 19 focused around issues of gender and sexual assault.