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.

FBI to investigate threats made against school board members, teachers

By: - October 5, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice has directed the FBI to meet with local governments and law enforcement to discuss strategies for dealing with increasing threats to teachers and school board members spurred by a conservative backlash against discussions of race in public schools. “Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter […]

Congress has a plan for universal pre-K. Will states opt in?

By: - October 3, 2021

WASHINGTON — Nearly a fifth of President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion sweeping social spending package is dedicated to providing low-cost care for children from birth to kindergarten — investments that would benefit single parents and low-income families. But how the states implement their programs for pre-K for 3-and 4-year-olds—or whether they even decide to accept […]

Republicans win congressional dustup on the baseball diamond, amid DC turmoil

By: - September 30, 2021

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans on Wednesday night were the victors in an annual charity baseball game against Democrats, 13-12, even as a bitterly divided Congress struggles to pass major legislation this week. There were some feel-good moments, like when President Joe Biden passed out ice cream bars in the dugouts and Republican Rep. Greg Steube […]

Congressional panel hears from educators about how to safely reopen schools

By: - September 29, 2021

WASHINGTON — A school superintendent from a large Nevada district on Wednesday described how schools there have coped with the pandemic and returned to in-person learning, as members of Congress examined best practices for safe reopening. Jesus Jara, superintendent of Clark County School District, which includes Las Vegas, told a virtual panel of the House […]

Biden administration rolls out new rule to bolster DACA as lawsuit continues

By: - September 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Monday unveiled a proposed new rule that would strengthen the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to protect undocumented people in the program from legal challenges.  The proposed rule, announced by the Department of Homeland Security, would “preserve and fortify” the DACA program, an Obama administration-era initiative that protects […]

Immigration reform blocked from reconciliation bill in Congress, but Democrats vow to try again

By: - September 20, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate parliamentarian has turned down a plan to include a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented people in the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, a blow for Democrats and immigration advocacy groups when the decision was disclosed late Sunday. “We are deeply disappointed in this decision but the fight to provide […]

Republican AGs urge Biden administration to give up on vaccine requirements

By: - September 17, 2021

WASHINGTON — More than 20 Republican state attorneys general are threatening to sue the Biden administration over its mandate that large employers require their employees to either be vaccinated against the coronavirus or undergo weekly testing. In a Thursday letter, the 24 AGs, including Derek Schmidt in Kansas, pushed the administration to remove the requirement […]

Gymnasts urge U.S. Senate to investigate Larry Nassar sexual abuse after botched FBI inquiry

By: - September 16, 2021

WASHINGTON — Olympic gold medalists including Simone Biles and Aly Raisman on Wednesday detailed for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee the failure of the FBI to investigate dozens of complaints of sexual abuse committed by Larry Nassar, the disgraced team doctor for USA Gymnastics and a former Michigan State University physician. The gymnasts also urged […]

Revised voting rights bill rolled out in U.S. Senate, with Manchin on board

By: - September 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a revamped voting rights bill that would expand voter registration as well as create nonpartisan redistricting committees, but the measure is still likely to face an uphill battle in an evenly divided Senate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he will bring the legislation to the floor of […]

Kansas State University researchers are studying use of equipment to crush in the field the seeds of herbicide-resistant weeds that lower yields of wheat, soybeans and milo in the Midwest. (Perry Beeman/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Agriculture section of U.S. House spending bill centers on climate change, research

By: - September 14, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House Agriculture Committee on Monday finished marking up its section of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. The agriculture portion would provide funding for historically Black land grant colleges and investments in urban agriculture, along with boosting U.S. Department of Agriculture programs to address climate change threats in farming. The $66 billion […]

Universal pre-K, free community college included in sweeping reconciliation bill

By: - September 12, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House Education and Labor Committee on Friday finished a marathon markup of legislation that would provide universal pre-K education, expand federal Pell Grants for college students and institute two years of free community college. The $761 billion measure, approved on a party-line 28-22 vote, will be combined with other pieces of […]

U.S. House reconciliation package would provide path to citizenship

By: - September 5, 2021

A provision tucked in the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package would direct Congress to chart a path for citizenship for millions of undocumented people. If passed, the House provision would provide a pathway to citizenship for those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, often referred to as Dreamers; farmworker workers; those who hold a […]