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.

Louisiana Election Integrity Commission folds after two meetings

Senate GOP filibuster blocks commission to probe U.S. Capitol attack

By: - May 28, 2021

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans on Friday blocked consideration of a bill creating a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate what happened leading up to and during the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol. Legislation to form an investigatory panel into that attack passed the House of Representatives earlier this month, with 35 House Republicans joining […]

Biden urges Congress to act on policing reform after meeting with George Floyd family

By: - May 25, 2021

WASHINGTON — A year after George Floyd’s killing by a Minneapolis police officer, his family returned Tuesday to Washington, D.C., where lawmakers have been attempting to craft a bipartisan bill to overhaul the nation’s policing laws.  Congress failed to act by the anniversary of Floyd’s death — the deadline that President Joe Biden had urged lawmakers […]

Biden allocates $1B to prepare for hurricane, wildfire season

By: - May 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is doubling the amount of federal funding to help states prepare for natural disasters like hurricanes and wildfires, he announced Monday. His administration is directing $1 billion to the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program, which sends resources to communities, states, and tribal governments to prepare for extreme weather events. […]

Not one usable vaccine so far out of Baltimore plant with multi-million-dollar federal contract

By: - May 19, 2021

WASHINGTON — Angry U.S. House Democrats on Wednesday had one key question as they grilled executives of a Maryland biotech manufacturer forced to dump 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine: Has there been one usable vaccine dose produced as a result of the $271 million paid to date by the U.S. government? […]

A surgical mask and an N95 mask hang on display for sale at a pharmacy. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

CDC: You can ditch the mask in most places, indoors and out, if fully vaccinated

By: - May 13, 2021

WASHINGTON — Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to wear a mask in most situations, indoors and outdoors, federal health officials said in an updated set of recommendations Thursday that marks a major turning point in the pandemic. The announcement is a shift from earlier federal guidance, which had urged people who are vaccinated […]

Senate leaders want school districts to decide masking

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

By: - May 10, 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, parishes

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 […]

Heartbreaking stories of Black maternal deaths, pregnancy complications, racism related at hearing

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 4, 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.  […]

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, Colorado, Montana 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 […]

Judge grants restraining order against Louisiana med school vaccine mandate

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

By: - April 23, 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, […]