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Mourners at the Virginia Beach tribute site. Photo: Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced that the state's legislature will begin a special session this summer on gun control, AP reports.

The big picture: Northam, a Democrat, said he wants the state to focus on "votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers," forcing members of the Republican-controlled legislature to go on the record on the issue. The decision comes days after 12 people died in a mass shooting in Virginia Beach.

The state of play: Northam wants the legislature to debate bills that include ...

  • A ban on silencers.
  • A ban on high capacity ammunition magazines.
  • Granting local governments more power to limit guns in city buildings.

The other side: Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox said that Northam's decision is "more likely to inflame political tensions than produce substantive public policy changes." He signaled that Republicans in the legislature would pursue a different path for reform, increasing mandatory minimums and efforts to strengthen mental health systems.

"The Governor's call to Special Session is hasty and suspect when considered against the backdrop of the last few months, While the Governor can call a special session, he cannot specify what the General Assembly chooses to consider or how we do our work. We intend to use that time to take productive steps to address gun violence by holding criminals accountable with tougher sentences — including mandatory minimums."

Go deeper: What we know so far: 12 dead in Virginia Beach shooting

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 min ago - Technology

Tech's race problem is all about power

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

As problematic as the tech industry's diversity statistics are, activists say the focus on those numbers overlooks a more fundamental problem — one less about numbers than about power.

What they're saying: In tech, they argue, decision-making power remains largely concentrated in the hands of white men. The result is an industry whose products and working conditions belie the industry rhetoric about changing the world for the better.

Mayors fear long-lasting effects of COVID-19

Data: Menino Survey of Mayors; Chart: Axios Visuals

U.S. mayors tend to be an optimistic bunch, but a poll released Thursday finds them unusually pessimistic about prospects for post-pandemic recovery.

Why it matters: In a survey of mayors of 130 U.S. cities with more than 75,000 residents, 80% expect racial health disparities to widen, and an alarming number predict that schools, transit systems and small businesses will continue to suffer through 2021 and beyond.

Coronavirus hospitalizations top 100,000 for the first time

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking ProjectHarvard Global Health Institute; Cartogram: Danielle Alberti and Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than 100,000 Americans are now in the hospital with coronavirus infections — a new record, an indication that the pandemic is continuing to get worse and a reminder that the virus is still very dangerous.

Why it matters: Hospitalizations are a way to measure severe illnesses — and severe illnesses are on the rise across the U.S. In some areas, health systems and health care workers are already overwhelmed, and outbreaks are only getting worse.