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Standing Rock protest camp cleared, White House policy changes and more in political news

By Lauren AguirreFebruary 24, 2017

Standing Rock protest
Dakota Access Pipeline water protectors faced-off with various law enforcement agencies on the day the camp was slated to be raided. Many protesters were threatened with multiple felony charges if they didn't leave and were met with militarized police on the road abutting the camp. Getty Images

TRANSGENDER PROTECTIONS

President Donald Trump rescinded an Obama-era order that ensured transgender children and employees would be protected from discrimination in public schools. Obama issued the order on the basis that discriminating against gender identity violated Title IX, which is a federal law that prevents discrimination based on gender in education. With the rescinding of the order, these protections essentially go away. Some school districts — like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — already have protections for transgender students and employees in place. However, most do not.


PRIVATE PRISONS

The Justice Department, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, reversed an Obama-era directive to stop using private prisons to house inmates. Officials have previously deemed these facilities as less safe and less effective than those run by the government. However, with this order rescinded, the United States will likely continue to house prisoners in private institutions. Still, the impact of this order might not be too widespread. Most inmates are housed in state prisons, not federal ones. When the Obama order was originally issued, it only affected 13 private prisons.


STANDING ROCK

The main Standing Rock protest camp near the Dakota Access pipeline construction site was cleared after the deadline to leave the area passed. Construction of the pipeline was previously blocked by the Obama administration, but the policy was changed when Trump came into office. Protesters were told to leave the camp by Wednesday night or be forcibly removed. The next day, 10 protesters were arrested when they refused to leave. Another 23 people were arrested as cleanup of the site progressed, but many others left voluntarily. 


ADDRESS TO CONGRESS

Twitter and PBS are teaming up to live stream Trump's address to a joint session of Congress. The speech will be broadcast on February 28 from Washington, D.C. This will be Trump's first public speech to both Democrats and Republicans. Typically, newly inaugurated presidents give this type of address in their first year instead of the more formal State of the Union address. This tradition gives the new president a full year to assess the state of the nation, rather than just a few weeks. The speech can be streamed at jointsession.twitter.com and pbs.org/newshour