Hill to Hall April 1–5

April 1: Bill to provide free menstrual products in public schools moves forward in committee

A bill that would require at least half of all public middle and high schools in Oregon to provide free menstrual products passed through the Ways and Means committee. Students of South Eugene High School originally brought the bill to Rep. Julie Fahey, D–Ore., who is now chief sponsor of H.B. 3020. The bill could potentially affect over 500 schools in Oregon, but legislators have concerns with the bill’s status as an unfunded mandate. According to Portland Tribune, lawmakers in the Oregon Congress are also considering H.B. 2515, which would provide free menstrual products to women in state prisons and detention facilities.

April 2: USDA ends taxpayer-funded experiments on kittens

The United States Department of Agriculture ended the practice of euthanizing kittens involved in research experiments after Sen. Jeff Merkley, D–Ore., and Congressman Jimmy Panetta, D–CA., sponsored H.B. 1622—known as the KITTEN act—pushing for animal rights reform. Almost 3,000 kittens have been killed for USDA research practices. The KITTEN—Kittens in Traumatic Testing Ends Now—act was introduced on March 7 as a bipartisan bill to stop the practice of euthanizing kittens after their involvement in medical experiments is over.

April 4: Oregon Senate approves measure to abolish daylight savings time

Lawmakers in the Oregon Senate voted 23-4 in favor of permanent daylight savings time. If it passes in the Oregon House of Representatives and is signed by Gov. Kate Brown, Oregon will not add an hour to the clock in the fall of 2019. Florida, Arizona and Hawaii are currently the only states to abide by standard time permanently. The measure only applies to the areas of Oregon in the Pacific Time Zone—Oregon residents in the Mountain Time Zone will continue to adjust their clocks every year in the spring and fall. Brown has previously voiced her support for permanent daylight savings time.

April 5: New data says DOE failed to award any debt relief for students in June to December of 2018

According to new data reviewed by The New York Times, the U.S. Department of Education has failed to approve any application for federal student loan relief in the six months between June and December of 2018. The DOE receives over 2,000 applications a week, with 150,000 pending claims for student loan relief in total. Despite a ruling from a federal judge in September of 2018 declaring Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ freeze on federal aid review unconstitutional, the DOE has not announced a plan to deal with the backlog of claims.