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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

In the absence of uniform federal rules, states across the U.S. have ramped up online privacy legislation, which could in turn push Congress to pass its own law faster and with tougher provisions.

Driving the news: Virginia became the second state to enact a consumer privacy law this week. A number of other states are working on similar bills.

  • Some privacy advocates have said the Virginia law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023, is too industry-friendly. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) called it an "important first step."
  • Washington, New York, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey and Utah are among the states considering their own privacy legislation this year.

The catch: For years, Congress has wrestled with efforts to pass a comprehensive privacy law.

  • Democrats and Republicans have sparred over whether a federal law should pre-empt state rules, with Democrats largely preferring to give states the freedom to enact tougher rules beyond a federal standard.
  • Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) intends to reintroduce privacy legislation that would preempt state laws and give additional resources and powers to the Federal Trade Commission for enforcement.
  • “In the face of congressional inaction, states are understandably going at this on their own to protect their residents in our digital age, including California and Virginia with others following suit,” DelBene said this week. “Without a national standard, our rights change as we travel from state to state, creating confusion for consumers and an unworkable environment for small businesses.”

Between the lines: State laws are beginning to move the goal posts for Congress, since many lawmakers will be reluctant to offer voters fewer protections than California and Virginia provide.

  • State action may also prompt Congress to move faster, as the threat of a patchwork of state privacy laws becomes a more practical problem for businesses.

What to watch: While some in Congress may seek a push on privacy, that could be tough, given the Democratic majority's focus on COVID-19 relief, infrastructure and other priorities.

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Why it matters: Stocks have rallied almost unabated for over a year, leaving many to wonder if the market is overdue for a big selloff. Last week's declines amplify those concerns.

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Former President Trump has given at least 22 interviews for 17 different books since leaving office, with authors lining up at Mar-a-Lago as he labors to shape a coming tsunami of Trump tomes, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Trump advisers see the coming book glut as proof that interest in "POTUS 45," as they call him, has never been higher. These advisers know that most of the books will paint a mixed picture, at best. But Trump is working the refs with charm, spin and dish.

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Expand chart
Data: National Student Clearinghouse Research Center; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The pandemic's effects, along with a decline in the number of young adults, have depressed college enrollment, with community colleges bearing much of the brunt.

Why it matters: A college degree is becoming more important as the demand for higher skills sharpens. The drop in college enrollment — which is especially steep for Black and Latino students — is bad news for both the higher education industry and broader social mobility.