2020 preview: 10 big local stories to watch

2020 is upon us. With it comes a Democrat-controlled Virginia legislature, the opening of Amazon’s HQ2 in Arlington, a new Silver Line station, sports betting in the District and the first Makiyah Wilson trial.

As we move into the new year, here are the big local stories sure to make headlines — and an impact on the D.C. area.

Amazon HQ2

Amazon posted the first of its new positions at HQ2 in Arlington, Virginia, last April and held a Career Day in September, drawing huge crowds. In a blog post, the company said it plans to welcome those new hires to a temporary office space on Crystal Drive in June, with the expectation that the first of its buildings will open in the fall.

By the end of the year, Amazon aims to fill 400 positions there. That number is expected to grow to 25,000 by 2030.

Democrat control in Virginia

Democrats have taken control of both the Virginia Senate and House for the first time in more than two decades. On the docket is gun control, affordable health care and public education funding.

Democrats also took control of the boards of supervisors in Loudoun and Prince William counties, as well as the Loudoun County School Board and commonwealth’s attorney’s office.


REAL ID enforcement is coming Oct. 1. If you plan to fly after that date, or enter a federal facility, you’ll need a driver’s license that complies with the REAL ID requirements laid out in the law that was passed back in 2005, though passports will still be accepted.

Find out more about how to get a REAL ID license:

And check out WTOP’s tips on how to avoid common mistakes.

D.C. sniper Supreme Court decision

Lee Boyd Malvo was 17 when he and John Allen Muhammad terrorized the D.C. region in a series of 2002 sniper attacks that left 10 people dead. In October, his lawyers argued before the Supreme Court that he should be resentenced for his crimes in Virginia.

A Supreme Court decision is expected in June, though a Virginia judge could still impose a life sentence.

New Silver Line stations

Progress is being made on the Silver Line extension to Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County, Virginia, but the actual opening time remains up in the air.

Work to link the extension to the first phase of the Silver Line has been put on hold over concerns that the changes might disrupt current Metro operations.

Metro’s current schedule forecast calls for substantial completion of the stations and main tracks in June 2020 while a contractor schedule projects it will have testing required for substantial completion done by August 2020.

Will Jack Evans stay on the D.C. Council?

The question looms large for the scandal-plagued Ward 2 rep who was found to have repeatedly violated ethics rules.

A public hearing on the matter will be held Jan. 7. That’s when he will face the colleagues who voted unanimously to have him expelled.

Evans has recused himself from the meeting.

Elijah Cummings’ seat

There is a crowded primary on the horizon to fill the vacant House seat left by Maryland’s Elijah Cummings, who died Oct. 17, 2019. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, Elijah’s widow, said she is running for the seat. As is Harry Spikes, one of Cummings’ longtime aides; former NAACP leader Kweisi Mfume; state lawmakers Sen. Jill P. Carter, Dels. Talmadge Branch, Terri L. Hill; local doctor Mark Gosnell and many others. The primary is set for April.

Rayful Edmond decision

Rayful Edmond, who ran a massive D.C. drug ring and was sentenced to life in prison in 1990, is fighting for a reduction in his sentence. The office of U.S. Attorney Jesse Liu is looking for Edmond’s sentence to be reduced to 40 years; defense attorney Jason Downs is asking for it to be cut to 15 years.

The judge in the case said he’d make his decision between Jan. 22 and Feb. 12.

Last August, D.C. ran an unprecedented survey asking residents about whether Edmond should be released.

Of the 510 people interviewed, opinion was split almost perfectly — 239 people supported a reduction; 243 opposed it, and 28 were undecided or did not state an explicit opinion.

D.C. sports betting

Sports betting is coming to the District. Monumental Sports & Entertainment — which owns the Capitals, Mystics and Wizards — announced last October that they were partnering with internationally-known betting and gaming company William Hill U.S. to create the first sportsbook at a professional sports venue in the country.

There isn’t an exact timetable but the sportsbook is expected to open in 2020.


Makiyah Wilson trial

Ten-year-old girl Makiyah Wilson, of Northeast D.C., was killed in July 2018 when four suspects opened fire on a crowd of people at an apartment complex. The 11 suspects in the shooting are facing two trials, with the first, for seven of the defendants, slated to start Aug. 10. U.S. Marshals announced in September that they are increasing the reward for information from $10,000 to $20,000 on suspect Isaiah Murchison, who continues to evade capture.

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Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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