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The Virginia State Capitol. Virginia legislators on Friday voted to abolish the state's death penalty. Photo: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Virginia's House of Delegates on Friday passed legislation that abolished the death penalty in the state in a 57-41 vote.

Why it matters: Virginia is now the first southern state to ban executions.

  • The state Senate passed legislation to abolish it earlier this week.

What they're saying: "The repeal of capital punishment in Virginia takes our Commonwealth out of the business of determining life and death and ends a practice that a majority of Virginians oppose," House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D) said after the vote, per The Washington Post.

What to watch: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is expected to sign the bill.

  • It's "important that we shut down the machinery of death here in Virginia," Northam said.

Between the lines: President Biden campaigned on abolishing the federal death penalty, but has taken no action since his inauguration.

  • Several members of Congress have urged Biden to "prioritize abolishing the death penalty," CNN writes.
  • White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked in January about the president's pledge to end the practice, but she said that there were no updates on "future actions or mechanisms."

Go deeper

Virginia Senate votes to abolish the death penalty

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.

2 hours ago - Health

WHO: Not yet known whether Omicron leads to more severe disease

Photo illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Sunday said that it is not yet clear whether the newly discovered Omicron variant is more transmissible than other strains of the COVID-19 virus.

Why it matters: The agency's statement comes as the variant, discovered in South Africa, has already been detected in European and Asian countries.

7 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.