Feb 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Virginia to abolish state holiday honoring Confederate generals

A statue of Confederate Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson in Richmond, Va. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Virginia's House of Delegates voted Thursday to eliminate a state holiday that honors two Confederate generals and replace it with Election Day instead.

Why it matters: The bill is among a slate of sweeping legislation passed by the state's General Assembly, which Democrats gained full control of last November.

  • Virginia also became the first southern state to pass a broad set of anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people earlier this week, per the Virginia Mercury.

The state of play: Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam will sign the legislation to eliminate Lee-Jackson Day, which honors Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, from the list of state holidays.

  • Democrats have argued that making Election Day a state holiday in its stead will help to increase voter access.

Go deeper: Virginia Democrats seek to remove Lee statue from U.S. Capitol

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What we know: Richmond, Va., Second Amendment rally

Gun rights advocates in Richmond, Va., on Jan. 20. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Thousands of Second Amendment activists gathered in Richmond, Va., on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to protest proposed gun restrictions under consideration in the Democratic-controlled legislature.

Why it matters: The city avoided the chaos that broke out during a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 that left one person dead and around two dozen others injured. The organizers of the 2017 rally said they had planned to attend Monday's gathering.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 20, 2020

What to expect on tech legislation in 2020

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Bipartisan bills to protect kids online, promote and secure new technologies like 5G and autonomous vehicles, and restrain tech giants' power are a real possibility in 2020 — despite a presidential election and impeachment proceedings preoccupying Washington.

The big picture: Sweeping legislation will still struggle to gain traction, but narrower measures on issues like privacy and antitrust could help lawmakers show they can work across a bitter political divide.

Go deeperArrowJan 28, 2020

State attorneys general sue to demand certification of Equal Rights Amendment

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Three Democratic state attorneys general filed a lawsuit against a federal government official on Thursday to certify the Equal Rights Amendment, which would ban sex-based discrimination, into the U.S. Constitution.

The big picture: The lawsuit follows the National Archives and Records Administration's decision not to adopt the amendment, despite Virginia's General Assembly approving the ERA in mid-January, becoming the 38th state to do so. The NARA's decision is in line with a Justice Department legal opinion also issued earlier this month, arguing that Congress imposed a deadline for ratification, which expired in 1982.

Go deeperArrowJan 30, 2020