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.

Former U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida sworn in as new head of NASA

By: - May 3, 2021

WASHINGTON — Former Florida Sen. Bill Nelson launched into his new gig on Monday, when Vice President Kamala Harris swore him in to serve as the new NASA administrator. Standing next to his wife, his two children, and a piece of moon rock collected during the Apollo 16 mission, the 78-year-old Nelson expressed gratitude over being […]

Biden marks State of the Union and first 100 days with Georgia fly-around

By: - April 29, 2021

WASHINGTON — Standing in the same House chamber where a violent mob temporarily disrupted the certification of his victory, President Joe Biden on Wednesday heralded the country as “on the move again” as he sketched out his expansive vision for a post-pandemic America. Biden in his first address to a joint session of Congress touted quick […]

CDC: No mask needed outdoors if vaccinated, except among crowds

By: - April 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — Fully vaccinated Americans do not need to wear a mask outdoors except in crowded settings, federal health officials said Tuesday as they updated recommendations for how vaccinated individuals can safely resume normal activities. Those who are at least two weeks past receiving their final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine can safely be unmasked at small […]

Census reports Georgia growth shift, setting up political battle lines

By: and - April 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — After months of delays, the U.S. Census Bureau on Monday gave states part of the critical data 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.  For six states, […]

Georgia to restart use of J&J vaccine after federal officials lift pause

By: - April 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — Georgians will again get access to the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine after federal health officials recommended states again use the COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, but now also hand out updated fact sheets that will warn about rare blood clots in women that paused the vaccine’s use. Top U.S. health officials swiftly […]

Medicaid agency nominee slowed by waiver disputes similar to Georgia’s

By: - April 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — Wisconsin’s Andrea Palm moved a step closer Thursday to becoming deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, after the Senate Finance Committee advanced her nomination to the full chamber. The panel approved Palm’s nomination on a 20-8 vote, with all Democrats and six Republicans in support. But the Finance Committee […]

U.S. House passes D.C. statehood bill, but votes still lacking in Senate

By: - April 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — For the second time, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a measure to make the District of Columbia the 51st state, sending the historic bill to the Senate on a party-line vote. “We look forward to a swift vote in the Senate on this essential legislation,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-Calif.), said ahead […]

Georgia colleges wade into ‘vaccine passport’ debate in new COVID clash

By: and - April 22, 2021

After a stressful year of video conferences and hybrid coursework, University of North Georgia associate professor of rhetoric and composition Matthew Boedy is beginning to think about what he’ll say when he greets his students in the classroom this fall. “What I’m looking forward to most is the individual student conferences,” said Boedy, who is […]

Biden calls for paid time off for vaccinations as U.S. hits 200M goal

By: - April 22, 2021

WASHINGTON — Federal and state officials now face trying to reach Americans unable or unwilling to get the COVID-19 vaccine, after meeting President Joe Biden’s goal of administering 200 million doses within his first 100 days in office. To aid in that push, Biden on Wednesday called on employers to give their workers time off […]

Pause for J&J vaccine extended as federal health officials plot next steps

By: - April 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — Use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 shot will remain paused for at least a week, after a federal vaccine advisory panel said Wednesday that it had too little data on a rare but serious blood-clotting condition reported in at least six women. That means states and federally run vaccine sites will be relying […]

White House aims sales pitch for infrastructure plan at the states

By: - April 12, 2021

WASHINGTON — In Georgia there are 374 bridges and over 2,260 miles of highway in poor condition. About 10% of Georgians live in areas where, by one definition, there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds. And 7% of trains and other transit vehicles in Georgia are past useful life. In the next […]

Biden pitches big boosts in education and CDC spending in budget request

By: - April 9, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration released a key portion of its spending plan for the upcoming budget year Friday, calling for increasing money for schools, public health programs, cancer research and other discretionary programs that it says have been underfunded for too long. The president’s $1.5 trillion request aims to spend $769 billion on discretionary […]