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.

Protesters at the Supreme Court in March 2020, when the justices were hearing arguments in June Medical Services LLC v. Russo. Robin Bravender/States Newsroom

How a Mississippi court case could pave the way for new abortion bans across the U.S.

By: - October 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — A six-week abortion ban in Texas enacted in September forced those seeking abortion services in the Lone Star State to look across state lines for care. But the timing couldn’t have been worse for Texans living near the state’s eastern border. The law took effect as neighboring Louisiana was reeling from the destruction […]

Double masked teen getting vaccine

FDA panel recommends booster shot of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine

By: - October 14, 2021

WASHINGTON — Millions of Americans who received Moderna’s two-shot COVID-19 vaccine are expected to be eligible soon for booster shots, after a federal advisory panel on Thursday recommended a third dose for older and higher-risk adults as well as certain workers. The unanimous recommendation from the Food and Drug Administration vaccine panel came a few […]

Voting Cancelled sign via Flickr

Cyber Ninjas CEO refuses to testify at congressional hearing on Arizona ‘audit’

By: - October 7, 2021

WASHINGTON — When the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee holds a hearing Thursday to probe the so-called election “audit” in Arizona, the CEO of the company hired to conduct that controversial review will be absent. Doug Logan, CEO of Cyber Ninjas, was asked to testify but told committee officials ahead of the hearing that he […]

Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi

Why there’s such an impasse in Congress: Some questions and answers

By: and - October 1, 2021

WASHINGTON — Congress may have kept the federal government operating with an 11th-hour flurry of votes on Thursday, but several key pieces of the Democratic agenda remain in limbo. Here are some questions and answers on where negotiations stand with two massive Democratic-drafted bills — and the status of other looming challenges for federal lawmakers: President Joe […]

The U.S. Capitol. Credit: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Congress passes bill to prevent government shutdown, send out $28.6B in disaster aid

By: - September 30, 2021

WASHINGTON — Congress made a last-minute dash to avert a government shutdown on Thursday, with the U.S. Senate and House approving a short-term spending bill just hours ahead of a midnight deadline. Every Democratic and independent senator and 15 Republicans supported the bill in the 65-35 vote. The GOP senators in the “aye” tally included […]

U.S. Capitol Photo by Senate Democrats 2020 CC BY 2.0

Senate GOP torpedoes U.S. government funding bill, raising odds of federal fiscal crises

By: - September 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Republicans blocked an attempt by Democrats on Monday evening to begin debate on a broad bill that would avert multiple looming fiscal crises for the federal government. The measure to briefly keep the government operating past the end of the fiscal year on Thursday, as well as to increase the borrowing limit […]

Michele Catinella, a nurse practitioner at the John Knox Village Continuing Care Retirement Community receives a Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine from Carmen Pi, a Registered Nurse with American Medical Response on Dec. 16, 2020 in Pompano Beach, Florida. The facility, one of the first in the country to do so, vaccinated approximately 170 people including healthcare workers and elder care people. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Who will get a booster shot? A Q&A about what the feds are saying

By: - September 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — Booster shots soon will begin rolling out to some Americans who received the two-shot vaccine made by Pfizer—after a contentious and confusing federal approval process that isn’t over yet. Determining who exactly should be rolling up their sleeves for an additional dose was tricky. The Biden administration had leapfrogged federal regulatory panels in […]

How House Democrats would expand Medicare and Medicaid and lower prescription drug costs

By: - September 16, 2021

WASHINGTON — New Medicare benefits for older Americans, like dental care. An expansion of eligibility for Medicaid for low-income people in Republican-controlled states that have declined to take that step.  And potentially an historic effort to rein in prescription drug prices — if congressional Democrats can work through objections from moderates in their party. The […]

Potatoes frying

Putting on pandemic pounds: State obesity rates hit all-time highs

By: - September 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — The number of states with high obesity among residents has nearly doubled since 2018, according to new data Wednesday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were 16 states that had obesity rates among adult residents of at least 35% last year, with Iowa, Ohio, Delaware and Texas on that list for […]

Arizona attorney general first to sue over Biden vaccine mandate on private businesses

By: - September 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich on Tuesday filed the first lawsuit against the Biden administration’s upcoming COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private companies with at least 100 employees, arguing that the federal requirement violates the U.S. Constitution. In the legal complaint, Brnovich argues that the vaccine mandate President Joe Biden announced last week violates […]

Housing costs saving piggy bank under magnifying glass

Billions of dollars in federal rental aid remains stalled in slow-moving states, localities

By: - September 13, 2021

WASHINGTON — Make it simpler to apply for rental assistance money. Allow landlords to apply on behalf of unresponsive tenants. And consolidate two overlapping federal programs aimed at getting financial help to struggling renters. Those were among the proposals that U.S. House members weighed during a hearing Friday on how to better help states and localities […]

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE - JANUARY 11: President-elect Joe Biden receives the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination from Chief Nurse Executive Ric Cuming at ChristianaCare Christiana Hospital. Biden received the second dose of the coronavirus vaccine three weeks after his first dose, received a few days before Christmas. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Biden to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for federal employees and contractors, reports say

By: - September 9, 2021

WASHINGTON — Federal employees will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with no opt-out for testing under an executive order that President Joe Biden is expected to sign Thursday, according to several news outlets. The new requirement will be rolled out as Biden gives a major address Thursday afternoon on new national strategies for combating […]