The Mercury provides news and fun every single day—but your help is essential. If you believe Portland benefits from smart, local journalism and arts coverage, please consider making a small monthly contribution, because without you, there is no us. Thanks for your support!

Good Morning, Portland! Thank god that leap day witchcraft is over. Let's get into the news.

• Oregon's Senate could take up HB 4002—a state bill that would, among other things and as an attempt to augment Measure 110, make possession of small amounts of drugs a crime in Oregon again—as soon as today. The House passed the bill Thursday by a wide margin, and it is expected to fly through the Senate with similar speed and onto Gov. Tina Kotek's desk.

The Oregonian reports the first major act of Gov. Kotek's Central City Task Force 90-day emergency plan—which seeks to address obvious fentanyl use in the city's downtown core—is a 30-day exemption on Oregon's bottle recycling requirements for two downtown Portland retailers. The monthlong exemption will allow the Safeway on SW10th and the Plaid Pantry a block away, on SW 11th, to temporarily not redeem bottles and cans for ten cents apiece, as part of the state's recycling program. Though it worth noting that requirement already allowed the stores to only redeem between 25-50 items per person, per day. So... the first major act of Gov. Kotek's Central City Task Force 90-day emergency plan is to see to it that people can't redeem cans for at most $5 a day at two locations downtown. Cool.

• On February 27, Portlanders gathered to mourn the death of Nex Benedict, a non-binary youth from Owasso, Oklahoma who died on February 8, the day after being assaulted by classmates at their high school. Earlier that day, City of Owasso police had walked back an initial statement that Benedict didn't die as a result of trauma, telling NBC News the medical examiner's office hadn't ruled out the fight as a possible cause or contributor in the youth's death. Basic Rights Oregon recently released a guide for Oregonians to find resources and honor Benedict in the wake of the teen's death.

• Damian Lillard told Sports Illustrated that he misses Portland.

• It's a banner year for nipple play in the Rose City. Yes, the results of the Mercury's 2024 Sex Survey are in. This year, a whopping 1,477 people filled it out and 55 percent of those people tweak the nip.

• Your Friday morning ticket drop is arriving shortly and our Portland Mercury EverOut calendar team has drawn up a list of shows hitting the streets. Of note: Ty Segall at Star Theater and Perfume Genius and Les Savy Fav at Revolution Hall (separately, though I would support such a co-headline).

• Nature's most beloved little pornography festival of erotic shorts the HUMP! Film Festival begins screening in Portland this weekend. In some sort of sexy post-pandemic surge of sensual movie-making, the fest received so many submissions this year that our practiced and worldly porno judges split the showings into two delectable bites. (We're appear to be doing a Dune thing.) HUMP! 2024: Part One screens for the next few weekends at Revolution Hall—then expect the massive, crushing, throbbing Part Two this fall. Get your tickets here!

• Speaking of Dune: Part Two, that extremely NOT SHORT (166 minutes) movie also officially opens today—read our review here.

• The Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in late April, regarding the legality of “presidential immunity from criminal prosecution,” which could impact Trump’s ability to run for president again, but until then... some states find themselves tasked with deciding whether to allow him on the ballot right now.

• Trump has been mentioning to his advisors that he likes the idea of a 16-week national abortion ban. While he supports exceptions for situations of rape, incest, and where the life of the person carrying the child is endangered by the pregnancy, reporting suggests that those exceptions are rarely granted.

• Meanwhile in Alabama, lawmakers have rushed to twist up some legislation, ensuring patients' ability to use in vitro fertilization services remains protected despite the state's supreme court ruling to treat frozen embryos as "extrauterine children." Associated Press reports that the lawmakers' approach is to "shield providers from prosecution and civil lawsuits" rather than address the inherent contradictions of embryo personhood.

• Male whales fucking? Hell yeah. Get these two bad bois a selfie stick so they can submit a video to HUMP! 2025, amirite?

CVS and Walgreens will begin carrying tightly-regulated Mifepristone in their New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California, and Illinois stores before gradually expanding to other states where abortion is still allowed by law. Mifepristone is part of a two-drug series of medications people take to end pregnancies. The other drug—Misoprostol has never been as tightly restricted and is already easily obtained in many pharmacies.

• In times of trouble, I turn to Young Sheldon. He has no understanding of my existence, but his omnipresence is my constant as I traverse linear time.