Author

Ariana Figueroa

Ariana Figueroa

Ariana covers the nation's capital for States Newsroom. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections and campaign finance.

In this file photo from December 2019, Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, sits during the House Judiciary Committee's markup of Articles of Impeachment against President Donald Trump

Republicans push back against federal approval for changes in state voting laws

By: - June 29, 2021

WASHINGTON—Republicans during a U.S. House Judiciary panel hearing on Tuesday argued that a bill that would reinstate a preclearance section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act is unnecessary because there is no discrimination in voting.  The top Republican on the panel, Rep. Mike Johnson, (R-La.), said that the legislation is not needed and that the […]

U.S. House panel approves legislation to clean up toxic ‘forever chemicals’

By: - June 24, 2021

WASHINGTON—The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee has approved major bipartisan legislation that aims to reduce Americans’ exposure to toxic chemicals in air, water and consumer products. The bill, the PFAS Action Act of 2021, led by Michigan Reps. Debbie Dingell, a Democrat and Fred Upton, a Republican, was approved 33-20 late Wednesday. It would […]

College athletes score a big win in the U.S. Supreme Court in NCAA dispute

By: - June 22, 2021

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the National Collegiate Athletics Association cannot limit educational compensation to student athletes due to their amateur status. The 9-0 decision in NCAA v. Alston was delivered Monday by Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who said the college athletics body is not exempt from antitrust law. “Put simply, […]

Voters lined up at a polling precinct

Senate Democrats’ voting rights push stalls in the face of GOP opposition

By: - June 22, 2021

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senate Republicans shut down efforts to open debate on a sweeping elections reform and voting rights bill brought to the Senate floor by Democrats Tuesday night. In a party-line 50-50 vote, the Democratic measure, S.1, titled the For the People Act, did not reach the 60-vote threshold required to end a filibuster and advance. […]

‘Tell the truth,’ Xavier University’s president says of struggle to vaccinate returning students

By: and - June 17, 2021

WASHINGTON—Leaders in higher education from New Orleans and Miami Thursday related how colleges coped with a rough year of online learning and vaccine distribution amid the pandemic, during a hearing before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee. The hearing included Dr. C. Reynold Verret, the president of Xavier University and Madeline Pumariega, […]

U.S. House Ag leader seeks permanent scholarship funding for 1890 land-grant colleges

By: - June 17, 2021

WASHINGTON—Leaders from 1890 land-grant colleges laid out to the House Agriculture Committee Wednesday how a fresh infusion of scholarship funding provided by Congress has helped those historically Black institutions educate and train the next generation of agriculture workers.  Committee Chairman David Scott, (D-Ga.), said that their testimony would help members of the committee work to […]

Justice Department to increase legal staff amid surge in restrictive voting laws

By: - June 14, 2021

WASHINGTON—The Department of Justice announced Friday that it is doubling its enforcement attorneys who will work to protect voting rights. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s announcement came as Republicans in state legislatures introduce and pass restrictive voting laws, such as limiting ballot boxes and requiring voter identification. “We are scrutinizing new laws that seek to […]

U.S. Capitol

Frustrated local leaders urge Congress to move faster on regulating drinking water contaminants

By: - June 10, 2021

WASHINGTON—Local officials and community leaders on Wednesday pushed Congress to designate toxic chemicals that are contaminating drinking water as hazardous materials, which would trigger federal cleanup standards.   In addition, two Democratic senators from Michigan, Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, introduced legislation that would put additional obligations on the Pentagon to initiate cleanup at military bases. […]

Jeff Landry sues ULM med school over vaccine mandate

Jeff Landry joins Republican AGs who object to U.S. Department of Education proposal on teaching about racism

By: - May 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — More than two dozen Republican attorneys general are voicing their disapproval over the Department of Education’s proposed priorities for teaching K-12 students about American history and civics education because they would include references to systemic racism and how the history of slavery has shaped the U.S. The state attorneys general argue in a […]

A mob of pro-Trump supporters attack the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6, 2020

Liz Cheney ousted from U.S. House GOP leadership for rejecting Trump’s “big lie”

By: - May 12, 2021

WASHINGTON—House Republicans voted Wednesday to remove U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership position after her continued pushback against former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud in the presidential election. Saying they want to unite the party in an attempt to win back the House in the 2022 midterm elections, GOP lawmakers in […]

Steve Scalise

Steve Scalise supports ouster of Liz Cheney from U.S. House GOP leadership

By: - May 6, 2021

WASHINGTON—U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson of Iowa said Thursday that she backs a move to remove Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership position in the House GOP, after Cheney called out fellow Republicans for spreading lies about the 2020 presidential election. Hinson and top House Republican leaders including Louisiana’s Steve Scalise are advocating for Rep. Elise […]

Governor vetoes bill that would've allowed concealed guns without permit

Federal background checks on ammunition sales pushed by Democrats

By: - April 21, 2021

WASHINGTON—Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut on Tuesday reintroduced legislation that would require instant background checks to prevent individuals with a criminal record from illegally purchasing ammunition. The measure backed by the Democrats, known as Jaime’s Law, is named in honor of Jaime Guttenberg, a student who died in […]