Here's your daily roundup of all the latest local and national news. (Like our coverage? Please consider making a recurring contribution to the Mercury to keep it comin'!)
In local news:
• Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced today that she is ordering all school districts to resume in-person classes for K-5 students by March 29, with grades 6-12 following suit by April 19. Excellent—just in time to give kids the opportunity to ditch for 4/20.
• The Oregon Legislature will have the chance to outlaw a homophobic and transphobic legal defense strategy during the 2021 session. Senate Bill 704 would ban the LGBTQ+ panic defense—also known as the gay panic defense or trans panic defense—from being used in Oregon courts. The panic defense is a legal strategy arguing that uses of force against an LGBTQ+ person are sometimes justified.
• Portland nonprofit radio station XRAY.FM has officially ended its relationship with Jefferson Smith, the station's co-founder and former executive director. The news, which was decided by the nonprofit's board earlier in the week, comes nearly a year after XRAY staff and volunteers first raised concerns about Smith's leadership, financial management, and general professionalism as the nonprofit's figurehead.
In national news:
• Eight Democratic senators joined Republicans in voting against including a minimum wage hike in the new COVID-19 relief package, effectively killing the push for a $15 minimum wage for now. This is why we can't have nice things!
• On a brighter note, more Democratic senators are starting to come around to the idea of killing the filibuster, a deeply un-democratic mechanism that allows the minority party (Republicans, right now) to effectively veto major legislation. This could help Democrats actually pass some progressive shit during Biden's first term... that is, assuming they want to!
• Last week, Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar spoke at a white nationalist conference. According to a report from Huffpost, most of Gosar's fellow Republicans don't really care about it, and don't feel the need to rebuke him.
• Headline of the Day, courtesy of Buzzfeed News: "This Guy Ordered Clorox Wipes When The Pandemic Started. They Finally Arrived 349 Days Later."
• You know what? Good for them:
Great apes at the @sandiegozoo are the first non-humans to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The news comes after eight gorillas at the zoo tested positive for COVID-19 in January.https://t.co/ufTKwsnnq0 pic.twitter.com/BaasfaFKcm
— Science Insider (@SciInsider) March 4, 2021
And just for fun:
• Check out the Mercury's Portland International Film Fest guide to find movies you can stream this weekend.
• Wish you were here:
I’m on the move! Just took my first test drive on Mars, covering about 16 feet (5 meters). You’re looking at the very beginning of my wheel tracks. Many more to make. pic.twitter.com/7tFIwWFfJ4
— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) March 5, 2021