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 Louisiana Illuminator. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.

U.S. Senate Republicans block advance of bipartisan infrastructure plan, but talks continue

By: - July 21, 2021

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats’ attempt to start debate on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan was blocked by Republicans on a party-line vote Wednesday, as lawmakers hustle to wrap up negotiations over drafting that legislation. In the 49-51 test vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-N.Y.), switched his vote to “no,” a procedural move that allows […]

Biden meets with mayors and governors on infrastructure package

By: - July 15, 2021

WASHINGTON —  President Joe Biden met with a group of governors and mayors on Wednesday as he seeks to build support for a massive federal infrastructure package awaiting action from Congress. The local officials joining Biden in the Oval Office included Mayors Nan Whaley of Dayton, Ohio; Kate Gallego of Phoenix, Ariz., and Michael Hancock, […]

marijuana

Chuck Schumer: Congress should legalize weed on the federal level

By: - July 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate says decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level is a change that’s “long overdue,” and that he’s prioritizing that effort amid a growing number of states legalizing cannabis. To that end, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday unveiled a draft proposal for removing cannabis from the federal […]

How the new, expanded federal child tax credit will work

By: - July 12, 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 this week and ending in December, the vast majority of U.S. households with children will begin receiving monthly payments as a result of changes […]

U.S. House votes to scuttle statues of Confederate leaders, bust of Dred Scott author

By: - June 29, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House voted Tuesday to remove from the Capitol a bust of the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney, a Marylander who wrote the despised Dred Scott decision—as well as evict statues and busts of men who fought for the Confederacy or served in its government. The legislation passed on a vote […]

Supreme Court affirms transgender rights in declining to hear Virginia 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. Justice Dept. suit says new Georgia voting law rules violate rights

By: - June 28, 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 […]

LSU should have considered firing

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 10 senators […]

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

By: and - June 10, 2021

WASHINGTON — There was little disagreement among U.S. 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 […]

Earmarks list for states in U.S. House infrastructure bill tops $5.7B

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 7, 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’s been against the rules governing collegiate sports for student athletes to make a profit off their name or image— a practice that’s commonplace […]

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

By: - June 3, 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 the […]