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LGBTQ+ people are easy to spot, because were required by law to always be waving this flag!
LGBTQ+ people are easy to spot, because we're required by law to always be waving this flag! MOTORTION / GETTY IMAGES

Good morning, Portland! And a special "good morning" to my coffeemaker, AKA the lifeblood behind Good Morning, News.

Here are the headlines.

• More than half of all US states still don't have laws on the books specifically banning anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination in housing, education, employment, and other key aspects of life. Today, Democratic lawmakers introduced the Equality Act—which would ban discrimination against queer and trans people at the federal level—into Congress. The legislation has gone through Congress before, but never with a Democratic majority in both houses voting on it.

• Statistics show that the life expectancy gap between Black and white Americans grew by a full year in 2020, thanks largely to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Race is not the risk factor,” one expert told Vox. “Racism is.”

• History repeats itself at an alarming pace:

• Because of a fun quirk in state tax law, about 900,000 Oregonians are going to be taxed extra for receiving a federal stimulus payment last year. State lawmakers from both parties are working on a fix for this problem—but it's unclear if they can solve it before the April tax filing deadline.

• Portland Public Schools and the Beaverton School District are both planning to "simulcast" their classes soon, meaning teachers will be teaching kids in their classrooms and kids watching from home—all at the same time. The planning comes as schools across Oregon are feeling political and parental pressure to reopen.

• The Oregon Health Authority has pulled a COVID public safety announcement from the airwaves after Newport Mayor Dean Sawyer complained that it was "disturbing to the families of our local fishing fleet." The ad depicted a group of fisherman throwing one person into a life raft, so as to create space for social distancing.

• State Republican parties are definitely having a normal one post-Trump:

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• Sometimes it's nice to see that no matter where you go in the world, certain things are always the same. For example: In India, a social media site called Koo has become a cesspool of anti-Muslim sentiment.

• Donald Trump is set to give a speech this Sunday at CPAC, a conservative conference featuring all the worst people and ideas you can imagine. It'll be Trump's first speech since leaving the White House last month—and the good news is that you absolutely do not have to watch it! The bad news: There are still millions of people in this country who hang on every word Trump says, so a speech like this can do some damage.

• Have you heard Kelly Rowland's new EP, K? According to resident Mercury music critic Jenni Moore—whom I would trust with my ear drums any day—K "packs slow-crawling production that lets Rowland's lyrics and vocal agility shine." Get more hot music recs in this week's Refresh Playlist.