Author

Ariana Figueroa

Ariana Figueroa

Ariana Figueroa covers the nation's capital for States Newsroom, a network of state-based nonprofit news outlets that includes Kansas Reflector. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections and campaign finance. Before joining States Newsroom, Ariana covered public health and chemical policy on Capitol Hill for E&E News. As a Florida native, she's worked for the Miami Herald and her hometown paper, the Tampa Bay Times. Her work has also appeared in the Chicago Tribune and NPR. She is a graduate of the University of Florida.

College athletes score a big win with U.S. Supreme Court in NCAA dispute

By: - June 21, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled Monday that the NCAA cannot limit educational compensation to student athletes due to their amateur status. The 9-0 decision in NCAA v. Alston was delivered by Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who said the college athletics body is not exempt from antitrust law. The NCAA was the […]

U.S. House Ag leader seeks permanent scholarship funding for 1890 land-grant colleges

By: - June 17, 2021

WASHINGTON — Leaders from 1890 land-grant colleges laid out to the House Agriculture Committee Wednesday how a fresh infusion of scholarship funding provided by Congress has helped those historically Black institutions educate and train the next generation of agriculture workers. Committee chairman David Scott (D-Ga.) said their testimony would help members of the committee work […]

Justice Department to increase legal staff amid surge in restrictive voting laws

By: - June 12, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice says it is doubling its enforcement attorneys who will work to protect voting rights. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Friday announcement came as Republicans in state legislatures introduce and pass restrictive voting laws, such as limiting ballot boxes and requiring voter identification. “We are scrutinizing new laws that seek […]

Frustrated local leaders urge Congress to move faster on regulating PFAS

By: - June 11, 2021

WASHINGTON — Local officials and community leaders pushed Congress to designate toxic chemicals that are contaminating drinking water as hazardous materials, which would trigger federal cleanup standards. In addition, two Democratic senators from Michigan, Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, have introduced legislation that would put additional obligations on the Pentagon to initiate cleanup at military […]

Colonial Pipeline CEO: ‘One of the toughest decisions I have had to make’ to pay a $4.4M ransom

By: - June 8, 2021

WASHINGTON — The CEO of Colonial Pipeline, which underwent a ransomware attack in early May that led to massive shutdowns of gas stations across the Southeast, said during a U.S. Senate hearing on Tuesday that it was his decision to pay a ransom to restore the company’s operations. “It was one of the toughest decisions […]

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, a Kansas Democrat in the 3rd District, said the 25th Amendment should be deployed to remove President Donald Trump from office.(Submitted/Kansas Reflector)

Electric buses, asphalt and bridges: Politicians jostle for federal transportation cash

By: and - May 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — The nearly $1 billion that U.S. Rep. Garret Graves is seeking through Congress’ revamped earmarks process isn’t a typo. The Louisiana Republican says Baton Rouge desperately needs a new bridge to alleviate a crush of roadway congestion — at a cost of $955.2 million for several projects. That far exceeds the $20 million that […]

Former U.S. Sens. Robert Dole and Pat Roberts endorse Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt's campaign for the Republican Party's nomination for governor of Kansas. (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)

Republican AGs object to U.S. Department of Education proposal on teaching about racism

By: - May 22, 2021

WASHINGTON — More than two dozen Republican attorneys general are voicing their disapproval over the Department of Education’s proposed priorities for teaching K-12 students about American history and civics education because they would include references to systemic racism and how the history of slavery has shaped the United States. The state attorneys general argue in […]

U.S. House condemns Atlanta shootings and Asian American racism

By: - May 19, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House on Wednesday passed a resolution condemning the March 16 mass shooting in Atlanta and reaffirming Congress’ commitment to combating racism and violence against the Asian American community, which has seen a spike in hate crimes since the onset of the pandemic.  The resolution, H.Res. 275, passed, 244-180, though more than a […]

Liz Cheney ousted from U.S. House GOP leadership for rejecting Trump’s ‘Big Lie’

By: - May 12, 2021

WASHINGTON — House Republicans voted Wednesday to remove U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership position after her continued pushback against former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud in the presidential election. Saying they want to unite the party in an attempt to win back the House in the 2022 midterm elections, GOP […]

Biden to order $15-an-hour minimum wage for federal contract workers

By: - April 27, 2021

WASHINGTON—President Joe Biden plans to sign an executive order Tuesday to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $15 an hour, according to senior administration officials. The order will go into effect Jan. 30 of next year, according to a fact sheet provided by the administration. Once in place through new and extended […]

Vilsack keys in on food insecurity and nutrition in USDA budget request

By: - April 14, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday laid out goals to expand food insecurity and nutrition programs in the president’s budget request, as well as the agency’s focus on programs to address longtime racial discrimination. “Normally I would talk to you all about numbers in the budget,” Vilsack, the former governor of Iowa, […]

Up to 100 new immigration judges would be added under Biden budget request

By: - April 11, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Friday released a budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year that would increase the number of immigration judges and allocate millions in funding to clear backlogs of hearings and asylum requests. The administration is grappling with an influx of asylum seekers at the Southern border after inheriting a gutted […]