Hill to Hall July 17– 28

July 17: Washington, D.C. to conduct cat census

A coalition of Washington, D.C.–based groups have launched the D.C. Cat Count Project, which aims to determine the total number of cats living in the capital using research methods including camera traps and household and shelter surveys. According to the project website, researchers hope to use these data to help develop better cat population management strategies across the United States. The project is expected to be completed in three years.


July 17: Measure to repeal Oregon’s sanctuary policy to appear on November ballot

Oregon election officials have announced that Initiative Petition 22—a measure to repeal Oregon’s 30-year-old sanctuary state law—will appear on the ballot in the upcoming November 2018 election. The measure, sponsored in large part by anti-immigration group Oregonians for Immigration Reform, became the subject of controversy earlier this year when the Oregon Department of Justice launched a criminal investigation following reports that one signature gatherer lied to signers about the purpose of the petition. The investigation remains open.


July 18: Gov. Brown declares wildfire emergency

Following the outbreak of the deadly Substation wildfire in Southern Oregon, Governor Kate Brown announced a statewide wildfire emergency. The fire, which broke out southeast of The Dalles on July 17, has killed one person and burned more than 80,000 acres of land. On July 21, officials announced firefighters had reached 44 percent containment.


July 21: NYPD officer faces charges in death of Eric Garner

The New York Police Department announced it has served Officer Daniel Pantaleo with departmental charges in the July 2014 death of Eric Garner, an unarmed Black man who died after Pantaleo tackled him, holding his arm around Garner’s neck as Garner complained he couldn’t breathe. Pantaleo is accused of using a department-banned chokehold on Garner. His lawyer has denied this, claiming Pantaleo apprehended Garner using an approved takedown move.

July 24: Merkley introduces legislation to bar one-on-one Trump-Putin meetings

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., introduced a resolution to prohibit President Donald Trump from meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin or any other Russian official without the supervision of another senior U.S. official. The resolution follows Trump’s July 16 meeting with Putin in Helsinki, Finland. “President Trump made clear last week in Helsinki and since that Vladimir Putin has him wrapped around his finger,” Merkley said in a statement. “We may not know exactly why Trump is so weak in the face of Putin’s manipulations, but it’s clear that they should not be in a room alone together. Our nation needs President Trump to act as a watchdog for America, not a lapdog for Putin.”


July 24: Appeals court rules open carry protected by Second Amendment

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled the Second Amendment to the Constitution protects the right of citizens to openly carry firearms in public. The court decided in favor of Hawaii resident George Young, ruling his rights were violated when officials denied him a permit to carry a loaded gun in public.


July 26: Judge dismisses lawsuit over bathroom policy for transgender students

A federal judge threw out a lawsuit against a high school in Dallas, Ore. over a policy allowing transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity. Parents and students involved in the lawsuit said the school violated cisgender students’ right to privacy by allowing transgender student Elliot Yoder to use boys’ facilities at school. U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez dismissed this claim in his ruling, writing, “High school students do not have a fundamental privacy right to not share school restrooms, lockers, and showers with transgender students whose biological sex is different than theirs.”


July 27: Abortion initiative qualifies for November ballot

An initiative to ban the use of state funds for abortion in Oregon has qualified for the ballot in the upcoming November 2018 election with 117,799 valid signatures—just 221 signatures over the minimum requirement. Initiative Petition 1, also known as the Stop Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, is sponsored by pro-life organization Oregon Life United.