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 Minnesota Reformer. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.

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

By: - 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 […]

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 […]

Just enough: Minnesota will retain eight congressional districts

By: and - 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.  Minnesotans — especially politicos […]

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, […]

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 […]

Pushback against ‘vaccine passports’ puts colleges in a quandary

By: - April 19, 2021

WASHINGTON — Florida’s Nova Southeastern University joined a small group of U.S. colleges on April 1, when the private research university announced that it would require all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus this fall. In a message posted on the university’s website, NSU’s president and CEO, Dr. […]

U.S. health officials recommend pausing J&J vaccine

By: - April 13, 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. […]

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 underfunded for too long. The president’s $1.5 trillion request seeks to spend $769 billion on discretionary […]

Quest for D.C. statehood finds new friends and foes: Other states

By: - April 7, 2021

WASHINGTON — Congress had yet to even schedule a hearing on a measure granting statehood to the District of Columbia when a panel of state lawmakers in Arizona voted in February to take a stand against D.C’s plea to become the 51st state. From their committee room some 2,300 miles from the nation’s capital, members […]

Special Report: Dozens of members of Congress are vaccinated against COVID-19, but some still hesitant

By: and - March 31, 2021

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress were among the first people in the U.S. 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 […]

Rachel Levine confirmed as highest-ranking openly transgender federal official

By: - March 25, 2021

WASHINGTON — Pennsylvania’s former top health official, Dr. Rachel Levine, on Wednesday became the first openly transgender individual to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a federal position. The Senate voted 52-48 to confirm her as an assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services. Two Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine […]

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 […]