Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump has signed the First Step Act into law, bringing reform to federal prisons and sentencing laws influenced by the war on drugs.

Why it matters: In an era of extreme partisanship, the bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House. The new law will send thousands of inmates home immediately, and opens up the possibility for thousands more to reduce their sentences.

The new law will:

  • Send up to 4,000 prisoners home by increasing the amount of time inmates can cut off of their sentences due to good behavior.
  • Allow inmates to serve time in house arrest or halfway homes instead of prison cells, with exceptions for high-risk inmates.
  • Require that prisoners be placed within 500 miles of family.
  • Outlaw shackling during childbirth.
  • Mandate the provision of sanitary napkins and tampons to female inmates.
  • Reduce the mandatory penalty from life to 25 years for a third conviction of certain drug offenses, and from 25 to 15 years for a second conviction.
  • Prohibit the doubling up, or "stacking," of mandatory sentences for certain gun and drug offenses.
  • Give judges more discretion in giving less than the mandatory minimum for certain low-level crimes.
  • Make the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act retroactive, which changed sentencing guidelines to treat offenses involving crack and powder cocaine equally. This could impact nearly 2,600 federal inmates, according to the Marshall Project.

The big picture: This law will only impact the 180,789 people incarcerated in federal prisons, but many of the changes reflect reforms already implemented in some states. The act's passage could also set the stage for more reform at the state and local level.

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Trump refuses to answer question on whether he supports QAnon conspiracy theory

President Trump on Friday refused to answer a direct question on whether or not he supports the QAnon conspiracy theory during a press briefing.

Why it matters: Trump congratulated Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, who vocally supports the conspiracy theory, on her victory in a House primary runoff earlier this week — illustrating how the once-fringe conspiracy theory has gained ground within his party.

Postal workers' union endorses Biden

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The National Association of Letter Carriers, the union representing roughly 300,000 current and former postal workers, on Friday endorsed Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, calling him "a fierce ally and defender of the U.S. Postal Service," reports NBC News.

Why it matters: The endorsement comes as President Trump has vowed to block additional funding for the USPS in the next coronavirus stimulus package, linking it to his continued baseless claims that increased mail-in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud.

Lawmakers demand answers from World Bank on Xinjiang loan

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

U.S. lawmakers are demanding answers from the World Bank about its continued operation of a $50 million loan program in Xinjiang, following Axios reporting on the loans.

Why it matters: The Chinese government is currently waging a campaign of cultural and demographic genocide against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, in northwest China. The lawmakers contend that the recipients of the loans may be complicit in that repression.