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.

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 […]

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 14: (L-R) Vermont Governor Phil Scott, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese and Special Assistant to the President Michael Collins attend a meeting hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden about his proposed infrastructure plan in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on July 14, 2021 in Washington, DC. The meeting included a bipartisan group of city and state political leaders, Vice President Kamala Harris, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Labor Secretary Martin Walsh. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Biden meets with mayors and governors on infrastructure package

By: - July 15, 2021

WASHINGTON —  President Joe Biden met with a group of governors and mayors on Wednesday as he seeks to build support for a massive federal infrastructure package awaiting action from Congress. The local officials joining Biden in the Oval Office included Mayors Nan Whaley of Dayton, Ohio; Kate Gallego of Phoenix, Ariz., and Michael Hancock, […]

How the new, expanded federal child tax credit will work

By: and - July 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — The most ambitious part of the pandemic stimulus package signed by President Joe Biden earlier this year is about to hit the bank accounts of millions of U.S. parents. Starting Thursday and ending in December, the vast majority of U.S. households with children will begin receiving monthly payments as a result of changes in […]

PHoto of teacher in front of classroom looks distressed taken from behind students heads

CDC study finds racial, regional disparities as schools reopened for in-person learning

By: - July 6, 2021

WASHINGTON — After last year’s abrupt shutdown of schools due to the coronavirus pandemic, increasing numbers of students returned to in-person learning. But a new study shows that racial and geographic gaps persisted as K-12 students went back to their classrooms—with non-Hispanic white kids more often the ones attending a brick-and-mortar school full-time in most states. […]

The bust of Roger Brooke Taney sits outside the historic Supreme Court chambers in the U.S. Capitol. U.S. Senate photo.

Wisconsin Republicans split on vote to remove statues of Confederate leaders, bust of Dred Scott author

By: - June 30, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House voted Tuesday to remove from the Capitol a bust of the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney, a Marylander who wrote the despised Dred Scott decision—as well as evict statues and busts of men who fought for the Confederacy or served in its government. The legislation passed on a vote […]

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 15: Joseph Fons holding a Pride Flag, stands in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building after the court ruled that LGBTQ people can not be disciplined or fired based on their sexual orientation June 15, 2020 in Washington, DC. With Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Neil Gorsuch joining the Democratic appointees, the court ruled 6-3 that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Supreme Court affirms transgender rights in declining to hear school bathroom case

By: - June 28, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday that it will not hear a case of a transgender student in Virginia who was barred from using the boys’ bathroom, a decision that affirms lower-court rulings that said treating transgender students differently violates federal law. Justices on the top court offered no comment in declining to […]