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The Virginia State Capitol. Photo: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Virginia lawmakers on Monday gave their final approval to legislation that will abolish capital punishment in the state.

Why it matters: The measure now heads to Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who has said he will sign it into law. Once signed, Virginia will become the first southern state and the 23rd state nationwide to end capital punishment.

  • Democrats, who control of the state's legislature, pushed for the repeal.

The big picture: Virginia has executed a higher percentage of its death row prisoners than any other state, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

  • Since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, only Texas has executed more people.
  • Just two men remain on Virginia's death row, per AP.

What they're saying: “It is vital that our criminal justice system operates fairly and punishes people equitably. We all know the death penalty doesn’t do that. It is inequitable, ineffective, and inhumane," Northam, House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, and Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw said in a joint statement Monday.

  • “Over Virginia’s long history, this Commonwealth has executed more people than any other state. And, like many other states, Virginia has come too close to executing an innocent person," they added.
  • "It’s time we stop this machinery of death."
  • “This is an important step forward in ensuring that our criminal justice system is fair and equitable to all.”

Go deeper

Previewing GOP's Biden-era villains

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

In a first taste of Republicans' Biden-era villains, the Virginia GOP is rolling out some of Donald Trump's favorites — China and Hillary Clinton — for the state's 2021 election.

Why it matters: Virginia’s off-year elections are an early battleground in defining the Republicans’ post-Trump identity. A spate of attacks against GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin appears to be drawing from the same playbook, hyping familiar Trump-era GOP villains.

Fauci: Children "very likely" to get COVID vaccine at start of 2022

NIAID Director Anthony Fauci. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Children under age 12 will "very likely" be able to get vaccinated for coronavirus at the "earliest the end of the year, and very likely the first quarter of 2022," NIAID Director Anthony Fauci told "Meet the Press" Sunday.

Why it matters: Children generally aren't at risk of serious coronavirus infections, but vaccinating them will be key to protecting the adults around them and, eventually, reaching herd immunity, writes Axios' Caitlin Owens.

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.