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 Kansas Reflector. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.

States with higher vaccine demand will be able to request more from the feds

By: - May 4, 2021

WASHINGTON — With demand for COVID-19 vaccines dropping in many states, the federal government is changing how those doses are allocated. Under the new policy, any doses that a state doesn’t request from its weekly, population-based allotment will be held in a general pool, and states with higher demand can request additional shots from that surplus.  […]

Biden calls for sweeping ‘once-in-a-generation investment’ to reshape the nation

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 […]

No mask needed outdoors if you’re vaccinated, except among crowds, CDC says

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 […]

Federal health regulators urge states to restart use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

By: - April 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — A federal advisory panel on Friday recommended that states return to using the COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, but also hand out updated fact sheets that will warn about the rare blood clots in women that paused the vaccine’s use. Top U.S. health officials swiftly acted on the recommendation by the panel, […]

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

By: - April 22, 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 […]

Restaurant chains slammed over resistance to minimum wage hike for tipped workers

By: - April 21, 2021

WASHINGTON — As the nation’s largest trade group for restaurant owners on Tuesday held a virtual version of its annual gathering to lobby Congress, advocates for a $15 per hour minimum wage took aim at the powerful restaurant chains that they say are blocking legislation on a higher wage for tipped workers. During their own […]

Pushback against ‘vaccine passports’ puts colleges in a quandary

By: - April 20, 2021

WASHINGTON — Florida’s Nova Southeastern University joined a small group of U.S. colleges on April 1 when the private research university announced that it would require all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus this fall. In a message posted on the university’s website, NSU president and CEO George […]

Pause for Johnson & Johnson vaccine extended as federal health panel wrestles with next steps

By: - April 14, 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 13, 2021

WASHINGTON — The 1,321 rickety bridges in Kansas. Pennsylvania’s 7,540 miles of highway roads in poor condition. Florida’s $100 billion in damages over the last decade from extreme weather events. The 1 in 4 Idahoans with no access to broadband internet, and 1 in 2 living in areas with too-few licensed child care centers. In […]

CDC: If you’re fully vaccinated, you can travel in the U.S. without tests or quarantines

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 United States, 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 […]

Special Report: Dozens of members of Congress are vaccinated against COVID-19, but some still hesitate

By: and - March 30, 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 […]

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

By: - March 25, 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 working their way through Georgia’s state Capitol, where a final vote loomed on a GOP-drafted bill […]