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 Tennessee Lookout. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.

U.S. Supreme Court building (Photo: U.S. Supreme Court website)

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 […]

(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, Montana among states gaining U.S. House seats

By: - April 27, 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 […]

Healthcare professional in protective gloves and workwear holding and organizing a tray of COVID-19 vaccine vials. The professional is carrying out research on COVID-19 vaccine in laboratory. (Getty Images)

Tennessee pauses J&J vaccine after recommendation from U.S. health officials

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. Officials […]

(Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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

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 U.S. House and […]

A Department of Health and Human Services employee holds a COVID-19 vaccine record card Nov. 13, 2020, in Washington D.C. The cards will be sent out as part of vaccination kits from Operation Warp Speed, which is an effort by several U.S. government components and public partnerships to facilitate the development, manufacturing and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. (DoD photo by EJ Hersom)

‘Vaccine passports’ that show you’re inoculated are on the way

By: - March 18, 2021

WASHINGTON — More than 70 million Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine — and along with that shot, a small paper card with the CDC’s label detailing the timing and manufacturer of the dose. Those paper cards at the moment are the only proof readily available to Americans of their […]

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 11: U.S. President Joe Biden arrives to give a primetime address to the nation from the East Room of the White House March 11, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden gave the address to mark the one-year anniversary of the shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Biden to states: Make all adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccines by May 1

By: - March 12, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is directing states to make all adults eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by May 1, he said in his first primetime address Thursday evening.  Biden’s COVID-19 advisers are projecting that enough Americans in priority groups will be able to access the vaccine by the end of April to allow for the […]

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 18: The U.S Capitol Building is prepared for the inaugural ceremonies for President-elect Joe Biden as American flags are placed in the ground on the National Mall on January 18, 2021 in Washington, DC. The approximately 191,500 U.S. flags will cover part of the National Mall and will represent the American people who are unable to travel to Washington, DC for the inauguration. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Congress clears giant $1.9T emergency relief package for Biden’s signature

By: - March 10, 2021

WASHINGTON — A sweeping $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package is headed to President Joe Biden’s desk after the U.S. House passed the latest pandemic relief measure Wednesday on a party-line vote. The massive bill includes a new round of $1,400 direct checks for many Americans, as well as an extension of expanded unemployment checks to assist […]

The Tennessee State Capitol with gates locked.

Census delay in releasing population data throws states into chaos

By: - February 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Census Bureau won’t be releasing population data needed to redraw state legislative and congressional district boundaries until Sept. 30 — six months after that data is typically made available. The latest pandemic-spurred delay, announced by bureau officials on Friday, hugely scrambles the once-a-decade redistricting process for states with deadlines looming this […]

UPS employees move one of two shipping containers containing the first shipments of the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine inside a sorting facility December 13, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. The flight originated in Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Michael Clevenger - Pool/Getty Images)

Biden expected to distribute all available vaccine doses to states

By: - January 11, 2021

WASHINGTON — More COVID-19 vaccine doses will be available to states sooner under changes that the incoming Biden administration is expected to make to how the Trump administration has been allocating those shots. That’s according to comments a Biden transition spokesman made to CNN on Friday, indicating that President-elect Joe Biden will shift to “releasing available […]

U.S. Capitol police officers point their guns at a door that was vandalized in the House Chamber during a joint session of Congress on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

U.S. Capitol on lockdown after pro-Trump rioters storm inside

By: and - January 6, 2021

WASHINGTON — A mob derailed the typically routine process of Congress certifying the presidential election results on Wednesday, with both chambers abruptly recessing after President Donald Trump’s supporters clashed with police and forced their way into the U.S. Capitol. A House office building was evacuated, and the Capitol and surrounding office buildings were locked down […]

(Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Newly elected members of the U.S. House converge on Washington

By: - November 17, 2020

WASHINGTON — They’ve won their campaigns. Now, newly elected members of the U.S. House of Representatives are spending their first days in the nation’s capital, learning how to perform their new jobs. The orientation session for those incoming House freshmen began on Thursday, covering their office budgets, how to hire staffers and the ethical guidelines […]

Joe Biden is declared next president by Associated Press

By: - November 7, 2020

WASHINGTON — Democrat Joe Biden’s native state of Pennsylvania on Saturday secured his victory to become the next president of the United States when The Associated Press reported he had gained enough votes there to win the electoral college. The AP called Pennsylvania for Biden at 11:25 a.m., which gave the former vice president 284 […]