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 Michigan Advance. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.

Pause for Johnson & Johnson vaccine extended as federal health panel wrestles with 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 14, 2021

WASHINGTON — 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 one in four Idahoans with no access to broadband internet, and one in two living in areas with too-few licensed child care centers. In the next phase of President Joe Biden’s […]

Michigan among states pausing J&J vaccine after recommendation from U.S. health officials

By: - April 14, 2021

WASHINGTON — Top public health officials said Tuesday that they are recommending a pause in the use of a COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson “out of an abundance of caution” following six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot, and states and localities immediately began moving to suspend the vaccine’s use. Officials […]

Biden pitches big boosts in education and health spending in budget request

By: - April 9, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration released a key portion of its budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year Friday, calling for increasing money for schools, public health programs, cancer research and other discretionary programs that it says have been underfunding for too long. The president’s $1.5 trillion request seeks to spend $769 billion on discretionary programs […]

Biden opens up eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines, as infections surge in some states

By: - April 7, 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 states such as Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania reported worrisome COVID-19 trends. Michigan has […]

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 United States 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. […]

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 the House and Senate on Thursday approved a GOP-drafted […]

Collapsing union pension plans win long-sought help from rescue package

By: - March 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — Tucked in the Democrats’ massive coronavirus stimulus package was a long-awaited solution for a financial ticking time bomb: private pension funds on the brink of collapse, jeopardizing the retirement plans of millions of union members. The $1.9 trillion pandemic relief measure included $86 billion that will be used for grants to help shore […]

GOP attorneys general slam tax cut ban in stimulus law as ‘unprecedented and unconstitutional’

By: - March 18, 2021

WASHINGTON — Republican attorneys general from 21 states are attacking the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief law as an “unprecedented and unconstitutional infringement” on state sovereignty because it restricts tax cuts by states. The attorneys general in a letter to the Treasury Department threatened to take action against the Biden administration over the law’s tax cut provision. The group […]

‘Vaccine passports’ that show you’re inoculated are on the way

By: - March 17, 2021

WASHINGTON — More than 70 million Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine — and along with that shot, a small paper card with the CDC’s label detailing the timing and manufacturer of the dose. Those paper cards at the moment are the only proof readily available to Americans of their […]

Does the new federal stimulus law rule out state tax cuts?

By: - March 14, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s massive pandemic stimulus law pumps a welcome infusion of federal aid into state and local government coffers — but one brief section is raising questions about whether states are barred from cutting their own taxes if they accept the federal help. The Senate added language to the COVID-19 relief package prohibiting […]

Biden to states: Make all adults eligible for COVID vaccines by May 1

By: - March 12, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is directing states to make all adults eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by May 1, according to a White House memo ahead of his first primetime address Thursday evening. Biden’s COVID-19 advisers are projecting that enough Americans in priority groups will be able to access the vaccine by the end of […]