This week at Pacific Standard, we brought you stories on how Raúl Grijalva could transform the House Committee on Natural Resources, which countries are falling behind on climate mitigation, and why students in Southern California left anti-gun rhetoric out of their demonstration against gun violence.
But as usual, there's been far more news than our small newsroom can cover. Here are a few more stories we've been watching this week.
A Federal Agency Warns Government Employees That #Resisting Is Political Activity
The Office of Special Counsel this week released a document warning that it may be illegal for federal employees to engage in discussions about "resisting" or impeaching President Donald Trump, the New York Times reports.
Entitled "Guidance regarding political activity," the document was issued in response to questions the agency has recently received regarding what constitutes "political activity" under the Hatch Act. "To the extent that the statement relates to resistance to President Donald J. Trump," the document says, "usage of the terms 'resistance,' '#resist,' and derivatives thereof is political activity." It also says that advocating for or against impeachment of the president or any candidate for federal office is "squarely within the definition of political activity for purposes of the Hatch Act."
California Lawmakers Will Consider a New Gun Tax After the Latest Mass Shooting
Just weeks after a shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, killed 12 people, a new gun tax has been proposed for the state. According to the Los Angeles Times, Assemblymember Marc Levine, a Democrat, will introduce a bill to tax semiautomatic weapon purchases. The funds would go to the California Violence Intervention and Prevention Program. The tax, Levine told the Times, "will support the kind of interventions that make gun violence less likely in the first place, which is exactly what we need to do."
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice announced Friday that it will distribute $16.7 million to victim's of last year's Las Vegas shooting that left 59 people dead.
Transgender Migrants Are Having Trouble Finding U.S. Sponsors
Following the news, first reported by the Daily Beast, that a transgender woman was beaten before her death while in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody, BuzzFeed News says there is increased urgency to help get transgender members of the migrant caravan out of detention. But lawyers are having difficulty finding sponsors for the estimated 50 to 60 transgender women in the caravan who need them.
"They have great asylum cases, and there's no need for them to be detained," Allegra Love, executive director of the Santa Fe Dreamers Project, told BuzzFeed News. But Love notes that sponsorship, which entails providing housing and support, is "asking a lot of someone."