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

Updated 21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court clears way for first federal execution since 2003

Lethal injection facility in San Quentin, California. Photo: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via Getty Images

The Supreme Court ruled early Tuesday that federal executions can resume, reversing a lower court decision and paving the way for the first lethal injection since 2003 to take place at a federal prison in Indiana, AP reports.

The big picture: A lower court had delayed the execution, saying inmates had provided evidence the government's plan to carry out executions using lethal injections "poses an unconstitutionally significant risk of serious pain."

1 hour ago - Health

More Republicans say they're wearing masks

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Nearly two-thirds of Americans — and a noticeably increasing number of Republicans — say they’re wearing a face mask whenever they leave the house, according to the latest installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: A weakening partisan divide over masks, and a broad-based increase in the number of people wearing them, would be a welcome development as most of the country tries to beat back a rapidly growing outbreak.

Buildings are getting tested for coronavirus, too

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Testing buildings — not just people — could be an important way to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: People won't feel safe returning to schools, offices, bars and restaurants unless they can be assured they won't be infected by coronavirus particles lingering in the air — or being pumped through the buildings' air ducts. One day, even office furniture lined with plants could be used to clean air in cubicles.