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 Ohio Capital Journal. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.

Pennsylvania’s 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 […]

CDC says it’s OK for students to sit 3 feet apart in classrooms

By: - March 22, 2021

WASHINGTON — Federal health officials have revised their guidance to schools on how far apart students should be spaced in a classroom, now saying desks can be placed 3 feet apart instead of 6 feet to limit the spread of COVID-19. The updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention comes as schools across the […]

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

By: - March 19, 2021

WASHINGTON — More than 75 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 […]

Yost sues Biden admin. for ‘unconstitutional’ part of relief package

By: and - March 18, 2021

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is taking legal action in opposition to a provision in the federal COVID-19 package restricting local governments in how they can spend the upcoming relief funding. The American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden last week, allocates $350 billion to states, localities, tribes and territories throughout […]

U.S. Senate panel advances nomination of transgender doctor from Pennsylvania for HHS post

By: - March 17, 2021

WASHINGTON — Pennsylvania’s former top health official, Dr. Rachel Levine, moved one step closer on Wednesday to becoming the highest-ranking openly transgender official in the federal government. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee voted 13-9 to advance Levine’s nomination to serve as assistant secretary of Health and Human Services for a vote by the […]

States question whether new federal stimulus law rules out tax cuts

By: - March 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s massive pandemic stimulus law pumps a welcome infusion of federal aid into state and local government coffers — but one brief section is raising questions about whether states are barred from cutting their own taxes if they accept the federal help. The Senate added language to the COVID-19 relief package prohibiting […]

Ohio on track to meet Biden push to make all adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccines by May 1

By: - March 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is directing states to make all adults eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by May 1, and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said over the weekend the state is on track to do that or better. Biden’s COVID-19 advisers are projecting that enough Americans in priority groups will be able to access […]

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. Ohio state and local government is slated to receive about $11.2 billion from the package. The massive bill also includes a new round of $1,400 […]

CDC: It’s OK for vaccinated grandparents to visit family if no risk for severe disease

By: - March 9, 2021

WASHINGTON — People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely socialize inside with other vaccinated individuals without wearing masks or maintaining distance, federal health officials advised Monday in their first formal guidance for vaccinated Americans. Perhaps more critically at a time when more than 90% of Americans are still waiting to be fully vaccinated, the […]

Senate imposes limits on aid for state, local governments in COVID relief bill

By: - March 5, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate voted Thursday to begin debate on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, after drafting a number of revisions that, among other changes, tweak the aid intended for state and local governments. The legislation approved in the House outlines $350 billion in direct aid to state, local governments, territories and […]

Senate panel advances Deb Haaland’s historic nomination to lead Interior Department

By: - March 4, 2021

WASHINGTON — Deb Haaland has moved a step closer to becoming the first Native American to serve as a federal Cabinet secretary, with a Senate committee on Thursday advancing her nomination to lead the Department of the Interior. The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources voted 11-9 to send her nomination to a vote by the […]