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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

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
25 mins ago - Economy & Business

The Fed could be firing up economic stimulus in disguise

Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard at a "Fed Listens" event. Photo: Eric Baradat / AFP via Getty Images.

Even as global growth expectations increase and governments pile on fiscal spending measures central bankers are quietly restarting recession-era bond-buying programs.

Driving the news: Comments Tuesday from Fed governor Lael Brainard suggest the Fed may be jumping onboard the global monetary policy rethink and restarting a program used following the 2008 global financial crisis.

Democrats' hypocrisy moment

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo should be facing explicit calls to resign from President Biden on down, if you apply the standard that Democrats set for similar allegations against Republicans. And it's not a close call.

Why it matters: The #MeToo moment saw men in power run out of town for exploiting young women. Democrats led the charge. So the silence of so many of them seems more strange — and unacceptable by their own standards — by the hour.

Police officers' immunity from lawsuits is getting a fresh look

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nearly a year after the death of George Floyd, advocates of changes in police practices are launching new moves to limit or eliminate legal liability protections for officers accused of excessive force.

Why it matters: Revising or eliminating qualified immunity — the shield police officers have now — could force officers accused of excessive force to personally face civil penalties in addition to their departments. But such a change could intensify a nationwide police officer shortage, critics say.