Author

Laura Olson

Laura Olson

Laura covers the nation's capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom, a network of nonprofit outlets that includes Wisconsin Examiner. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.

Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff looks on as a young patient receives the vaccine during a tour of the Esperanza Health Center vaccination site, Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Chicago. (Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith)

COVID-19 booster shots to roll out starting next month

By: - August 18, 2021

WASHINGTON — Top U.S. health officials announced a plan Wednesday to begin offering COVID-19 booster shots to Americans starting Sept. 20, with the scheduling of the additional shot to be based on when a person was fully vaccinated. The new round of jabs will be extended to those who received the two-dose vaccine from either Pfizer or Moderna, and can be […]

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - AUGUST 10 : Displaced Afghans reach out for aid from a local Muslim organization at a makeshift IDP camp on August 10, 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan. The Taliban has taken control of six provincial capitals, among other towns and trade routes, since the United States accelerated withdrawal of its forces this year. Afghan families from Kunduz, Takhar and Baghlan provinces have arrived in Kabul in greater numbers, fleeing the Taliban advance. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)

Afghan evacuees to arrive in the U.S. through Wisconsin military base

By: - August 17, 2021

WASHINGTON — Department of Defense officials said Monday that they will use Wisconsin’s Fort McCoy  near Tomah to house refugees evacuated so far amid the collapse of the Afghan government. The anouncement that the refugees will be housed at Fort McCoy and Fort Bliss in Texas could allow for evacuating as many as 22,000 individuals to the […]

Right-wing protesters gather outside the Maricopa County Elections Department on Nov. 4, 2020, demanding that all ballots for Donald Trump be counted. Inside the building, election workers were busy counting hundreds of thousands of ballots. Photo by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Arizona Mirror

Trump allies’ lingering election ‘audits’ spark public skepticism, concerns in Congress

By: - August 10, 2021

WASHINGTON — The months-long, Republican-led investigation in Arizona into the results of last year’s presidential election has cost millions of dollars and produced no evidence yet of major issues in tallying Maricopa County ballots. Yet supporters of former President Donald Trump are still attempting to follow Arizona’s lead by pushing for so-called audits in several […]

Feds order new eviction ban in counties with highest COVID-19 infection rates

By: and - August 4, 2021

WASHINGTON — Federal health officials on Tuesday announced a new, narrower moratorium on evictions through Oct. 3, which would protect struggling renters in areas of the U.S. that have been hit hardest by soaring COVID-19 infection rates. The targeted eviction ban comes days after a federal moratorium in place since September expired on Saturday. The Biden administration […]

Man sitting in the street on his couch with his microwave next to him after being evicted

Federal eviction ban expired Saturday after attempt to extend it fails

By: - August 2, 2021

WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats unsuccessfully scrambled on Friday to extend federal legal protections against eviction that expired on Saturday. The end of the eviction moratorium jeopardizes housing security for millions of Americans who are struggling both to pay their rent and to access billions of dollars in slow-moving federal rental assistance funds. Top Democrats in the U.S. […]

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 18: The U.S Capitol Building is prepared for the inaugural ceremonies for President-elect Joe Biden as American flags are placed in the ground on the National Mall on January 18, 2021 in Washington, DC. The approximately 191,500 U.S. flags will cover part of the National Mall and will represent the American people who are unable to travel to Washington, DC for the inauguration. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

U.S. Senate agrees to move ahead on $550B in new infrastructure spending

By: - July 29, 2021

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of U.S. senators say they have worked through the sticking points on a major infrastructure package, and the Senate agreed on a procedural vote on Wednesday night to advance to debate on the proposal. That announcement came a week after Republicans blocked a test vote on the deal, with GOP […]

Visitors at Delicate Arch in Utah

National parks refine ticketed-entry systems to manage visitor boom

By: - July 29, 2021

WASHINGTON — Watching the sunrise from Cadillac Mountain at Maine’s Acadia National Park is a gorgeous view — so breathtaking that on some days, as many as 500 cars could be found vying for the scenic overlook’s 150 parking spots. That competition has become more manageable since Acadia officials began using a reservation system in May, […]

students at desks in classroom wearing masks for COVID-19 coronavirus prevention teacher also wearing mask bending over to help student

CDC says the vaccinated should wear masks indoors in areas with high infection rates

By: - July 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — Federal health officials on Tuesday urged Americans in areas of the country with the highest surges in COVID-19 infections to once again wear masks when they are in public, indoor settings — even if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The updated recommendations marked a sharp shift from the agency’s guidance in May that […]

Media all time radio -- COVID-19 coverage

States with low vaccination rates hit worst in new surge of COVID-19

By: - July 22, 2021

WASHINGTON — Amid a rise in infections and hospitalizations from the surging delta variant of COVID-19, the Biden administration is boosting money and other assistance to the hardest-hit areas of the country. This week, just three states with lower vaccination rates — Florida, Texas and Missouri — accounted for 40% of all cases nationwide.  One […]

Man being evicted from his home or apartment with all the property tossed outside

States still lag in getting assistance to struggling renters

By: - July 22, 2021

WASHINGTON — State and local officials disbursed $1.5 billion in rental assistance during June—more than during the entire previous five months—to help households falling behind on rent and utilities, according to U.S. Treasury data released Wednesday. That progress in getting slow-moving federal dollars to struggling renters comes as the Biden administration and housing advocates have […]

Highway construction is expected to be a big part of any federal infrastructure bill. Shown is Interstate Highway 235 in Des Moines. (Photo by Perry Beeman/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

U.S. Senate Republicans block advance of bipartisan infrastructure plan, but talks continue

By: - July 21, 2021

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats’ attempt to start debate on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan was blocked by Republicans on a party-line vote Wednesday, as lawmakers hustle to wrap up negotiations over drafting that legislation. In the 49-51 test vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-N.Y.), switched his vote to “no,” a procedural move that allows […]

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer via Senate Democrats on Flickr

Chuck Schumer: Congress should legalize weed on the federal level

By: - July 16, 2021

WASHINGTON — The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate says decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level is a change that’s “long overdue,” and that he’s prioritizing that effort amid a growing number of states legalizing cannabis. To that end, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday unveiled a draft proposal for removing cannabis from the federal […]