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House Democrats introduce bill named for late John Lewis

House Democrats introduced a voting rights bill that was named in honor of the late Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.), Rep. Teri Sewell (D-Al) announced on Tuesday.

Driving the news: The bill would restore elements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and allow the federal government to block certain state changes to election laws it found to be discriminatory.


  • "Today, old battles have become new again as we face the most coordinated effort to restrict the right to vote in generations & a Supreme Court keen on destroying our nation's most consequential civil rights law, the Voting Rights Act," Sewell said.

Why it matters: Democrats are trying to counter a wave of new voting restrictions in Republican states. Any bill faces an uphill battle in the tied Senate where it would need 60 votes to pass.

Background: In 2013, the Supreme Court gutted a provision of the Voting Rights Act that allowed for regulation of new election laws. The provision primarily affected Southern states which had a history of discrimination.

  • In July, the Court upheld a set of voting restrictions in Arizona making it much more difficult for the Justice Department to challenge new voting laws.

Flashback: Lewis died in July 2020, and Democratic lawmakers and other civil rights leaders renewed calls for voting rights protections.

The big picture: The House is poised to vote on the measure next week. They passed For the People, an expansive election and anti-corruption bill, in March, which was ultimately blocked by Republican senators.

  • "Across the country, we continue to bear witness to GOP attacks on voting rights with restrictive laws and voter-ID rules to prevent people of color, students, and others from having their voices heard at the ballot box," said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Tuesday.

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

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Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

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"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

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What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

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