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 Colorado Newsline. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.

‘There was no concern for my life’: Families losing homes despite federal eviction moratorium

By: - July 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — The national moratorium on evictions, as well as rental assistance programs, weren’t enough protection to keep Katrina Chism and her family in their suburban Atlanta home when money got tight.  Chism was laid off twice during the COVID-19 pandemic, and when she fell behind on rent, she faced an initial eviction notice. She was […]

CDC says the vaccinated should wear masks indoors in areas with high infection rates

By: - July 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — Federal health officials on Tuesday urged Americans in areas of the country with the highest surges in COVID-19 infections to once again wear masks when they are in public, indoor settings — even if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The updated recommendations marked a sharp shift from the agency’s guidance in May that […]

Feds: Florida, Missouri, Texas account for 40% of all COVID-19 cases this week

By: - July 22, 2021

WASHINGTON — Amid a rise in infections and hospitalizations from the surging delta variant of COVID-19, the Biden administration is boosting money and other assistance to the hardest-hit areas of the country. This week, just three states with lower vaccination rates — Florida, Texas and Missouri — accounted for 40% of all cases nationwide.  One […]

States still lag in getting assistance to struggling renters, federal data shows

By: - July 22, 2021

WASHINGTON — State and local officials disbursed $1.5 billion in rental assistance during June — more than during the entire previous five months — to help households falling behind on rent and utilities, according to U.S. Treasury data released Wednesday. That progress in getting slow-moving federal dollars to struggling renters comes as the Biden administration […]

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 […]

Hancock meets with Biden on infrastructure package

By: - July 14, 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 Mayor Michael Hancock, of Denver, as well as Mayors Nan Whaley of Dayton, Ohio […]

USPS inspector general investigation targets Baltimore mail delays, as probe expands nationally

By: - July 14, 2021

WASHINGTON — Baltimore has seen some of the worst delays of the U.S. Postal Service’s national delivery woes, and the Office of Inspector General is taking a deeper look at why the city’s mail service has been particularly sluggish. During a U.S. Senate hearing Tuesday on the Postal Service’s annual budget and the agency’s delivery issues, […]

How the new, expanded federal child tax credit will work

By: - July 13, 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 […]

Biden administration defends COVID ‘surge response teams’

By: - July 9, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s key COVID-19 advisers on Thursday defended the administration’s strategies for boosting vaccinations in the states, after Missouri’s governor said federal door-to-door outreach efforts are not welcome there. Top Biden adviser Jeff Zients said anyone mischaracterizing the administration’s attempts is “doing a disservice to the country.” Missouri Gov. Mike Parson voiced […]

CDC study finds racial, regional disparities as schools reopened for in-person learning

By: - July 2, 2021

WASHINGTON — After last year’s abrupt shutdown of schools due to the coronavirus pandemic, increasing numbers of students returned to in-person learning. But a new study shows that racial and geographic gaps persisted as K-12 students went back to their classrooms — with non-Hispanic white kids more often the ones attending a brick-and-mortar school full-time […]

‘We all have to do better’: White House urges locals to boost eviction diversion programs

By: - June 30, 2021

WASHINGTON — With a national moratorium on evictions set to expire at the end of next month and delays in federal assistance for struggling renters, the Biden administration says it wants to help state and local officials aid Americans on the brink of eviction. To that end, the administration on Wednesday highlighted efforts in Michigan and […]

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

By: - June 30, 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 […]