Archives by: Laura Olson

Laura Olson

About the author

Laura Olson covers the nation’s capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.
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Laura Olson's articles and posts

COVID-19 News Top Story

COVID-19 vaccines or weekly tests to be mandated for millions of U.S. workers

President Biden unveils new plan to speed mass vaccination, strengthen school safety, aid states in need WASHINGTON — More than 80 million employees of private businesses in the U.S. will be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing as part of the Biden administration’s latest strategy for combating the still-surging coronavirus pandemic.

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COVID-19 News Top Story

FDA grants full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 shot, now known as ‘Comirnaty’

WASHINGTON — The U.S. has its first fully approved vaccine against COVID-19, with federal health officials announcing Monday the approval of Pfizer-BioNTech’s two-dose vaccine. The green light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to move Pfizer’s vaccine from emergency use to full approval is a milestone in the national pandemic response, and one that comes as the country battles another surge in infections and hospitalizations due to the Delta variant.

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

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 other states, including Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Wisconsin.

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Top Story

DC update: Senate leader calls for legal weed, Biden pushes infrastructure package

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 Controlled Substances Act...

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Education News Top Story

How the new, expanded federal child tax credit will work

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 this week and ending in December, the vast majority of U.S. households with children will begin receiving monthly payments as a result of changes in that law expanding and reworking the federal child tax credit.

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Higher Ed News Top Story

States poised to allow college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness

A seismic shift will rock college sports next month, when a handful of new state laws go into effect allowing student athletes to make money off their personal images. The NCAA currently prohibits student-athletes to profit off their name or image — a practice that’s commonplace in professional sports.

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Law enforcement officials urge congressional action against rising numbers of ‘ghost guns’

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has promised a crackdown on so-called “ghost guns,” and during a U.S. Senate hearing Tuesday, law enforcement officials from Pennsylvania and Maryland described how an exponential increase in those firearms — which are easily assembled from kits and not subject to federal gun laws — has expanded the workload of their agencies.

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Heartbreaking stories of Black maternal deaths, pregnancy complications, racism related at congressional hearing

WASHINGTON — When U.S. Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri was pregnant with her first child, Zion, she saw a sign in her doctor’s office encouraging her to speak up about anything unusual she was feeling. She did so, telling her physician that she was having severe pains, but her concerns were swiftly dismissed. The doctor told Bush, who is African American, that she was fine and sent her home — and one week later, Bush went into early labor.

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The 2020 census: North Carolina, Florida, Colorado, Montana among states gaining U.S. House seats

WASHINGTON — After months of delays, the U.S. Census Bureau on Monday started to distribute data that will be needed to redraw their U.S. House boundaries: an updated tally of how many people live within their borders, and the number of House districts that each state will have for the next decade. 

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COVID-19 Higher Ed News Top Story

Pushback against ‘vaccine passports’ puts colleges in a quandary

WASHINGTON — Florida’s Nova Southeastern University joined a small group of U.S. colleges on April 1, when the private research university announced that it would require all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus this fall.

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