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.

FDA green lights Pfizer vaccine for kids 12-15, with CDC still to act

By: - May 11, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday signed off on expanding the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 12 to 15, clearing one key hurdle before that age group can begin receiving the two-shot vaccine. But another step is needed before tweens and teens can line up for shots. The […]

More than $350B in federal recovery cash starts rolling out to states, cities, counties

By: - May 10, 2021

WASHINGTON — States, cities and counties can begin to tap their share of the $350 billion in federal funds intended to spur a national recovery from the economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, White House officials announced Monday. The Biden administration said the much-anticipated money, which was included in the massive relief law enacted earlier this […]

Capitol Hill focuses on Black maternal deaths

By: and - May 7, 2021

WASHINGTON — When U.S. Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri was pregnant with her first child, Zion, she saw a sign in her doctor’s office encouraging her to speak up about anything unusual she was feeling. She did so, telling her physician that she was having severe pains, but her concerns were swiftly dismissed. The doctor […]

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

By: - May 5, 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. […]

Former U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida sworn in as head of NASA

By: - May 4, 2021

WASHINGTON — Former Florida Sen. Bill Nelson launched into his new gig on Monday, when Vice President Kamala Harris swore him in to serve as the new NASA administrator. Standing next to his wife, his two children, and a piece of moon rock collected during the Apollo 16 mission, the 78-year-old Nelson expressed gratitude over […]

Census data kicks off partisan brawl in statehouses over U.S. House seats

By: - April 30, 2021

WASHINGTON — The announcement of which states will lose and gain U.S. House districts in 2023 was the opening bell for the cutthroat, once-a-decade process of redrawing district boundaries. The results of the state-level fights now unfolding will shape not only the partisan makeup of each congressional delegation, but also help determine whether Democrats can […]

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 […]

Florida, North Carolina among states gaining U.S. House seats

By: - April 26, 2021

WASHINGTON — After months of delays, the U.S. Census Bureau on Monday gave states part of the critical data needed to redraw their U.S. House boundaries: an updated tally of how many people live within their borders, and the number of House districts that each state will have for the next decade. For six states, the long-awaited […]

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

By: - April 24, 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, with the […]

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

By: - April 23, 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 […]

Biden calls for paid time off for vaccinations as U.S. hits 200M goal

By: - April 22, 2021

WASHINGTON — Federal and state officials now face trying to reach Americans unable or unwilling to get the COVID-19 vaccine, after meeting President Joe Biden’s goal of administering 200 million doses within his first 100 days in office. To aid in that push, Biden on Wednesday called on employers to give their workers time off […]

Lawrence: Minimum wage for tipped workers is ‘an insult’

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 virtual event, lawmakers […]