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.

Expanded child tax credit payments start July 15. Here’s how they work.

By: - July 10, 2021

WASHINGTON — The most ambitious part of the pandemic stimulus package signed by President Joe Biden earlier this year is about to hit the bank accounts of millions of U.S. parents. Starting next week and ending in December, the vast majority of U.S. households with children will begin receiving monthly payments as a result of changes […]

CDC study finds racial, regional disparities as schools reopened for in-person learning

By: - July 5, 2021

WASHINGTON — After last year’s abrupt shutdown of schools due to the coronavirus pandemic, increasing numbers of students returned to in-person learning. But a new study shows that racial and geographic gaps persisted as K-12 students went back to their classrooms — with non-Hispanic white kids more often the ones attending a brick-and-mortar school full-time in […]

Organizers for Rent Zero Kansas gather April 1, 2021, on the south steps of the Statehouse to warn legislators of potential fallout of inadequate housing policy. (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)

‘We all have to do better’: White House urges locals to boost eviction diversion programs

By: - July 3, 2021

WASHINGTON — With a national moratorium on evictions set to expire at the end of the month and delays in federal assistance for struggling renters, the Biden administration says it wants to help state and local officials aid Americans on the brink of eviction. To that end, the administration on Wednesday highlighted efforts in Michigan and […]

U.S. Supreme Court affirms transgender rights in declining to hear school bathroom case

By: - June 28, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday that it will not hear a case of a transgender student in Virginia who was barred from using the boys’ bathroom, a decision that affirms lower-court rulings that said treating transgender students differently violates federal law. Justices on the top court offered no comment in declining to take […]

U.S. Department of Justice takes Georgia to court over its elections law

By: and - June 25, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Friday that the Department of Justice is suing the state of Georgia to overturn a sweeping elections law passed in March, with a legal challenge that alleges the new statute violates the federal Voting Rights Act. The federal lawsuit is the latest in a series of challenges […]

Biden and bipartisan senators clinch a deal on $1.2T infrastructure plan

By: - June 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — The White House and a bipartisan group of U.S. senators said Thursday they’ve struck a deal on the outlines of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, marking a breakthrough on federal dollars for road and bridge projects after weeks of negotiations — but with significant hurdles still ahead. President Joe Biden stood with the […]

Biden administration extends federal eviction moratorium for one final month

By: - June 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Thursday extended a national moratorium on evictions for another month, offering what federal officials say will be a final respite while they scramble to beef up other help for renters that could mitigate a wave of evictions once the legal protection does expire. The added month of eviction relief comes […]

Marjorie Taylor Greene in new attack on Fauci demands his salary be stripped

By: - June 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia on Tuesday led a group of House Republicans calling for the firing of Anthony Fauci, formalizing their intense criticism of his public statements and actions throughout the coronavirus pandemic into legislation. Those GOP lawmakers can’t actually oust Fauci from his post as director of the National […]

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran. R-Kan., said he was horrified by the suicide bombing that killed 13 U.S. troops in Afghanistan and made more urgent the work to evacuate U.S. citizens and American allies (Screen capture/Kansas Reflector)

U.S. Senate panel grapples with fast-approaching state laws on rights of student athletes

By: - June 10, 2021

WASHINGTON — There was little disagreement among senators Wednesday over whether a national law is needed to standardize what soon will be a patchwork of conflicting state statutes allowing some student athletes to earn money from their personal brands. But the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing shed little light on what a potential […]

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety reported Kansas had adopted nine of 16 traffic safety laws recommended and urged lawmakers to improve seat belt mandates and require motorcyclists to wear a helmet and boost restrictions on teen motorists. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

U.S. House infrastructure bill tops $5.7B in earmarks, including $49.1M for Kansas projects

By: - June 9, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. House Democrats’ highway funding bill is poised to include roughly three out of five transportation projects submitted by members, as legislators vie for their share of federal dollars through the resurrected congressional earmarks process. The 1,473 projects that made the cut were out of 2,383 that Democratic and Republican legislators requested for […]

States poised to allow college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness

By: - June 6, 2021

WASHINGTON — A seismic shift will rock college sports next month, when a handful of new state laws go into effect allowing student athletes to make money off their personal images.  It has been against the rules governing collegiate sports for student athletes to make a profit off their name or image — a practice […]

‘Get a shot and have a beer’: Biden touts free brew, pro sports tickets and child care to boost vaccines

By: - June 2, 2021

WASHINGTON — Free child care during COVID-19 vaccine appointments. Late-night appointment slots on Fridays. And free beer for everybody over 21 if President Joe Biden’s vaccination goal is reached next month. These are some of the latest incentives and strategies lined up by the Biden administration to boost national vaccinations against COVID-19 leading up to […]