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 Georgia Recorder. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.

Bipartisan senators and Biden strike a deal on $550B in new infrastructure spending

By: - July 28, 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 […]

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

By: and - July 28, 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 Americans fully vaccinated against […]

‘There was no concern for my life’: Families losing homes despite federal eviction moratorium

By: - July 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — The national moratorium on evictions, as well as rental assistance programs, weren’t enough protection to keep Katrina Chism and her family in their DeKalb County home when money got tight. Chism was laid off twice during the COVID-19 pandemic, and when she fell behind on rent, she faced an initial eviction notice. She […]

Biden boosts assistance to fight COVID-19 as delta variant surges

By: and - July 23, 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 percent of all cases nationwide.  […]

Chuck Schumer: Congress should legalize weed on the federal level

By: - July 14, 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 Controlled Substances […]

How the new, expanded federal child tax credit will work

By: - July 11, 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 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 […]

Biden administration vouches for COVID ‘surge response teams’

By: - July 8, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s key COVID-19 advisers on Thursday defended the administration’s strategies for boosting vaccinations in Georgia and other states, after Missouri’s governor said federal door-to-door outreach efforts are not welcome there. Top Biden adviser Jeff Zients said anyone mischaracterizing the administration’s attempts is “doing a disservice to the country.” Missouri Gov. Mike […]

CDC finds racial, regional disparities as schools reopened classrooms

By: - July 1, 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. […]

White House urges state, locals to boost eviction diversion programs

By: - June 30, 2021

WASHINGTON — With a national moratorium on evictions set to expire at the end of next month and delays in federal assistance for struggling renters, the Biden administration says it wants to help state and local officials aid Americans on the brink of eviction. To that end, the administration on Wednesday highlighted efforts in Michigan and Philadelphia to […]

U.S. House votes to give bum’s rush to statue of Georgia’s Confederate VP

By: - June 30, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House voted Tuesday to remove a statue of former Georgia governor Alexander Hamilton Stephens from Statuary Hall at the Capitol, as well as evict stone monuments to other men who fought for the Confederacy or served in its government. Also flagged for removal is a bust of 19th century Supreme Court […]

Supreme Court affirms transgender rights, declines 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. Justice Dept. suit says new Georgia voting law rules violate rights

By: and - June 25, 2021

This story was updated June 25th at 5:27 p.m. 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 […]