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The Virginia state capitol in Richmond. Photo: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Virginia Senate on Wednesday voted 21-17 along party lines to pass a bill that would abolish the death penalty.

Why it matters: The bill, which the Virginia House and Gov. Ralph Northam (D) are expected to approve, marks a major policy shift. Virginia leads the country in the number of executions it has carried out, executing roughly 1,400 people over the past four centuries, per the Death Penalty Information Center.

Details: Democrats, who control the chamber, said capital punishment could result in the execution of innocent people and highlight the racial disparities in the death penalty's application.

  • Republicans say abolishing capital punishment would take away the possibility of achieving justice for victims' families, especially in cases of murder.

The big picture: If the bill becomes law, Virginia would become the 23rd state in the U.S. to abolish the death penalty.

  • Since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, Virginia has trailed only Texas in its number of executions. Virginia's most recent execution took place in 2017, and no one has received a death sentence in the state since 2011.

What to watch: President Biden has publicly opposed capital punishment and vowed to eliminate the federal death penalty.

Go deeper: America's dwindling executions

Go deeper

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.

Distrust in political, media and business leaders sweeps the globe

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Trust in government is collapsing, especially in democracies, according to a new global survey.

Why it matters: People also don't think media or business leaders are telling them the truth, and this suspicion of multiple societal institutions is pushing people into smaller, more insular circles of trust.

Great Resignation boosts White House's tech talent hunt

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Biden administration wants to capitalize on the Great Resignation to fill thousands of expected government tech and cybersecurity jobs.

Why it matters: The administration wants to remake how government websites deliver services and improve the nation's cybersecurity, but it will need skilled workers to make it happen.