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.

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 […]

Quest for D.C. statehood finds new friends and foes: Other states

By: - April 7, 2021

WASHINGTON — Congress had yet to even schedule a hearing on a measure granting statehood to the District of Columbia when a panel of state lawmakers in Arizona voted in February to take a stand against D.C’s plea to become the 51st state. From their committee room some 2,300 miles from the nation’s capital, members […]

Biden opens up COVID-19 vaccine access as cases surge in some states

By: - April 6, 2021

WASHINGTON — Every adult in the U.S. will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine by April 19, President Joe Biden said Tuesday, praising governors for lifting restrictions on vaccine eligibility earlier than his original May 1 deadline. But his remarks also came as some states reported worrisome COVID-19 trends as spring travel picks up around […]

CDC: If you’re fully vaccinated, you can travel in the U.S.

By: - April 2, 2021

WASHINGTON — Fully vaccinated individuals can travel at low risk to themselves and do not need to get a COVID-19 test or quarantine after traveling within the U.S., federal health officials said Friday as they unveiled updated travel guidelines. The new guidelines offer the first official guidance to Americans who are at least two weeks […]

Special Report: Greene rare Congress member who declines COVID vaccine

By: and - March 31, 2021

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress were among the first people in the U.S. to have access to the sought-after COVID-19 vaccine when the initial doses became available in December. Three months later, a States Newsroom survey across 22 states—making up a large swath of Congress— found at least 155 members of the U.S. House and Senate have […]

Biden slams ‘un-American’ GOP drive to curb voting rights in the states

By: - March 26, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Thursday in his first formal news conference since taking office blasted Republican-controlled state legislatures that are seeking to restrict voting access, labeling those attempts “sick” and “un-American.” Biden specifically referenced proposals like those that navigated through Georgia’s state Capitol to the governor’s desk this week. Gov. Brian Kemp quickly […]

CDC says it’s OK for students to sit three feet apart in classrooms

By: - March 19, 2021

WASHINGTON — Federal health officials have revised their guidance to schools on how far apart students should be spaced in a classroom, now saying desks can be placed three feet apart instead of six feet to limit the spread of COVID-19. The updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention comes as schools across the […]

Georgia secretary of state wades into fight over winner in Iowa House race

By: - March 18, 2021

WASHINGTON — Georgia’s secretary of state, who drew national attention when then-President Donald Trump pressured him to change the state’s November election results, is warning Georgia Democrats in Congress against voting to seat an Iowa Democrat who claims she was the rightful winner in a House race last year. Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, weighed in on […]