Hill to Hall Jan. 28–Feb. 1

Jan. 28: Educational aides sue Portland Public Schools for negligence  

Eight special education classroom aides in Beaverton, Gresham and Portland are suing their school districts for a combined $3.6 million for negligence, battery and failure to re-employ. Their lawsuit describes constant sexual and verbal abuse from students, with no training on how to deal with violence in an educational setting. More than one aide experienced major physical injury and “no measures were put in place to protect the staff from frequent abuse” according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit is required to be answered in 30 days by Portland Public Schools.

Jan. 31: Controversial climate action bill supported by Governor

After a year in the legislative process, a bill to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions and implement a cap-and-trade system was released. Gov. Kate Brown—who was re-elected on a platform of comprehensive climate change control—has issued a statement supporting the bill in full. Business owners criticized the legislation, saying it would initially target oil companies and would cause higher gas prices, but the carbon cap could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 80 percent by 2050, according to Vox.

Jan. 31: Battle over Virginia abortion laws extends to multiple states

After New York Governor Andrew Cuomo expanded abortion rights to include emergency late-term abortions, debates have struck up in Virginia about similar laws, tabling the bills currently in progress, according to The Washington Post. Over 14 states are currently reassessing their abortion policies, and abortion activists are afraid the extreme controversy coming from these measures, including the part of the New York measure that decriminalizes abortion, will stop progress, according to The Washington Post.

Feb. 1: Legislators revisit vaccine laws after measles outbreak

Over 43 people have been diagnosed with cases of measles in the Washington-Oregon area in the last few weeks. According to The Associated Press, Washington and Oregon are two of 17 states with laws that allow non-medical exemptions for mandatory vaccines. Oregon has the highest statewide vaccine exemption rates in the United States, with 7.5 percent of Oregon kindergarteners missing vaccines for non-medical reasons. U.S. Rep. Paul Harris, R–Washington, has introduced a measure to remove the exemption for the MMR vaccine with the goal to prevent further outbreak.