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 Florida Phoenix. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.

Elementary school class

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

By: - July 2, 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. […]

U.S. House votes to scuttle 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 of 285-120, with all the […]

Supreme Court affirms transgender rights in declining to hear Virginia 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 take […]

U.S. Department of Justice takes Georgia to court over its elections law

By: - June 25, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Friday that the Department of Justice is suing the state of Georgia to overturn a sweeping elections law passed in March, with a legal challenge that alleges the new statute violates the federal Voting Rights Act. The federal lawsuit is the latest in a series of challenges to Senate Bill […]

Biden and bipartisan senators clinch a deal on $1.2T infrastructure plan

By: - June 25, 2021

WASHINGTON — The White House and a bipartisan group of U.S. senators said Thursday they’ve struck a deal on the outlines of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, marking a breakthrough on federal dollars for road and bridge projects after weeks of negotiations—but with significant hurdles still ahead. President Joe Biden stood with the 10 senators […]

Biden administration extends federal eviction moratorium for one final month

By: - June 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Thursday extended a national moratorium on evictions for another month, offering what federal officials say will be a final respite while they scramble to beef up other help for renters that could mitigate a wave of evictions once the legal protection does expire. The added month of eviction relief comes […]

Capitol

Wisconsin congressman tries to ban ‘critical race theory’ in District of Columbia schools

By: - June 21, 2021

WASHINGTON — A Republican member of the U.S. House from Wisconsin wants to restrict how District of Columbia public school teachers talk about racism and sexism, drafting a bill that’s the latest attack by the GOP against discussions of race and gender in U.S. schools. The recent bill introduced by Rep. Glenn Grothman, titled the “Ending […]

Cyberattack on New Hampshire school district illustrates growing threat to states and localities

By: - June 18, 2021

WASHINGTON — In October 2019, officials at a tiny western New Hampshire school district suddenly realized they had a problem on their hands. The Sunapee School District’s servers, documents and other internal information systems had been locked down by an outside entity demanding a ransom payment. A cyberattack, like the Colonial Pipeline one that spurred […]

Marjorie Taylor Greene in new attack on Fauci demands his salary be stripped

By: - June 16, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia on Tuesday led a group of House Republicans calling for the firing of Dr. Anthony Fauci, formalizing their intense criticism of his public statements and actions throughout the coronavirus pandemic into legislation. Those GOP lawmakers can’t actually oust Fauci from his post as director of the National […]

Troubled Maryland plant told to toss part of the J&J vaccine ingredient it manufactured

By: - June 11, 2021

WASHINGTON — Federal health regulators have instructed Maryland’s Emergent BioSolutions to scrap some batches of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine substance manufactured at the company’s troubled Baltimore plant, while clearing a small portion to be used in the U.S. or sent abroad. Two batches of the J&J vaccine substance made in Baltimore were deemed “suitable […]

Biden pick: Robin Carnahan vows to modernize government IT systems as U.S. agency chief

By: - June 11, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the General Services Administration, former Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, told senators Thursday that she was “horrified” by the slow pace of federal pandemic relief. While Congress responded to the crisis with new programs and resources, in too many instances, that help was not fast enough in […]

U.S. Senate panel grapples with fast-approaching state laws on rights of student athletes

By: - June 9, 2021

WASHINGTON — There was little disagreement among senators Wednesday over whether a national law is needed to standardize what soon will be a patchwork of conflicting state statutes allowing some student athletes to earn money from their personal brands. But the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing shed little light on what a potential federal law […]