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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

For the first time since 2007, Washington lawmakers will have a hearing on reparations for slavery in the U.S.

Why it matters: This is a sign that reparations could no longer be "a fringe issue and occasional punchline" as they have been in the past, writes AP's Errin Whack, who broke the news of this hearing.

Between the lines: The House subcommittee hearing is technically a study of the lasting legacy of slavery and how to get on "the path to restorative justice."

  • It will be held on June 19, known as Juneteenth — a holiday to recognize the liberation of black slaves.
  • Author Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose 2014 essay for The Atlantic, "The Case for Reparations," brought the topic back to the national stage, will testify at the hearing by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.
  • So will actor Danny Glover, who has been an activist for reparations over the years.
  • Of that subcommittee's 14 members, only three are people of color.

The big picture: While the reparations discussion entered the 2020 conversation early in the cycle, Democratic presidential candidates haven't signed on to directly paying black Americans — the traditional understanding of reparations.

  • Instead, many 2020 contenders have endorsed other ideas like forming a committee to further study the issue of reparations, or proposed paying the descendants of slaves in the U.S.
  • Most have talked about racial economic inequalities and how to solve them.

Go deeper ... Reparations: Where the 2020 Democratic candidates stand

Go deeper

Virginia lawmakers vote to legalize marijuana in 2024

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. Photo: Alex Edelman/Getty Images

Lawmakers in Virginia on Saturday approved compromise legislation that would legalize marijuana in 2024, putting the state a step closer to becoming the first in the South to end prohibition on the drug, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

Why it matters: The legislation will make Virginia the 16th state to legalize marijuana, per Politico. It would add to a slate of laws that have seen Virginia move in a more progressive direction during the tenure of Gov. Ralph Northam.

Scammers seize on COVID confusion

Data: FTC; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Scamming has skyrocketed in the past year, and much of the increase is attributed to COVID-related scams, more recently around vaccines.

Why it matters: The pandemic has created a prime opportunity for scammers to target people who are already confused about the chaotic rollouts of things like stimulus payments, loans, contact tracing and vaccines. Data shows that older people who aren't digitally literate are the most vulnerable.

12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.