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.

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)

COVID-19 vaccines or weekly tests to be mandated for millions of U.S. workers

By: - September 9, 2021

WASHINGTON — More than 80 million employees of private businesses in the U.S. will be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing as part of the Biden administration’s latest strategy for combating the still-surging coronavirus pandemic. The upcoming vaccine rule for companies with at least 100 employees is one plank of an […]

In December, a group of parents rallied in Nashville to get their kids back in the classroom. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Biden administration launches civil rights investigations of GOP-led states banning school masks

By: - August 30, 2021

WASHINGTON — Federal education officials have launched civil rights investigations in five Republican-led states that have prohibited school districts from mandating mask-wearing, saying those policies could amount to illegal discrimination against students with disabilities. The Biden administration notified the education chiefs in Iowa, Tennessee, South Carolina, Utah and Oklahoma of the investigations through formal letters Monday.   […]

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 mandates vaccines in nursing homes, admonishes GOP governors on school masks

By: - August 19, 2021

WASHINGTON — Nursing homes will be required to ensure their staffers are vaccinated against COVID-19, or risk losing federal Medicare and Medicaid dollars, the Biden administration announced Wednesday in a major move on vaccinations as the delta variant sweeps many states. President Joe Biden at a press conference also criticized Republican governors who have prohibited […]

(Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

U.S. Senate agrees to move ahead on $550B in new infrastructure spending

By: - July 29, 2021

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of U.S. senators say they have worked through the sticking points on a major infrastructure package, and the Senate agreed on a procedural vote on Wednesday night to advance to debate on the proposal. That announcement came a week after Republicans blocked a test vote on the deal, with GOP […]

Hundreds of people from the Mosaic apartments showed up to question management about evictions notices on Wednesday. (Photo: John Partipilo)

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

By: - July 28, 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 […]

(Photo: Getty Images)

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 […]

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 […]