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 Arizona Mirror. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.

House Democrats advance budget resolution, overcoming standoff on timing of infrastructure vote

By: - August 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday muscled through a $3.5 trillion budget framework, overcoming a standoff with a handful of centrists who had demanded the House first approve the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed by the Senate. That position by 10 House Democrats prompted a late-night negotiating session Monday […]

Comirnaty

FDA grants full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 shot, now known as ‘Comirnaty’

By: - August 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. has its first fully approved vaccine against COVID-19, with federal health officials announcing Monday the approval of Pfizer-BioNTech’s two-dose vaccine. The green light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to move Pfizer’s vaccine from emergency use to full approval is a milestone in the national pandemic response, and one that […]

Biden faces down Ducey, other GOP governors on school mask bans

By: - August 19, 2021

WASHINGTON — With Arizona and seven other states so far prohibiting schools from levying mask requirements, President Joe Biden is pledging that his administration will use all of its oversight and legal authority to stick up for local officials trying to keep their schools safe. What remains to be seen is how far the federal […]

COVID-19 booster shots to roll out starting next month

By: - August 18, 2021

WASHINGTON — Top U.S. health officials announced a plan Wednesday to begin offering COVID-19 booster shots to Americans starting Sept. 20, with the scheduling of the additional shot to be based on when a person was fully vaccinated.  The new round of jabs will be extended to those who received the two-dose vaccine from either […]

Trump allies’ lingering election ‘audits’ spark public skepticism, concerns in Congress

By: - August 5, 2021

WASHINGTON — The months-long, Republican-led investigation in Arizona into the results of last year’s presidential election has cost millions of dollars and produced no evidence yet of major issues in tallying Maricopa County ballots.  Yet supporters of former President Donald Trump are still attempting to follow Arizona’s lead by pushing for so-called audits in several […]

Justice Department probing Phoenix Police Department over allegations of excessive force

By: - August 5, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the City of Phoenix and its police department, to review whether law enforcement officers there have engaged in a pattern of excessive force and discriminatory practices, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday. The investigation is the third in a series of […]

Feds order new eviction ban in counties with highest COVID-19 infection rates

By: and - August 4, 2021

WASHINGTON — Federal health officials on Tuesday announced a new, narrower moratorium on evictions through Oct. 3, which would protect struggling renters in areas of the U.S. that have been hit hardest by soaring COVID-19 infection rates.  The ban applies in all 15 Arizona counties. The targeted eviction ban comes days after a federal moratorium […]

National parks refine ticketed-entry systems to manage visitor boom

By: - July 29, 2021

WASHINGTON — Watching the sunrise from Cadillac Mountain at Maine’s Acadia National Park is a gorgeous view — so breathtaking that on some days, as many as 500 cars could be found vying for the scenic overlook’s 150 parking spots. That competition has become more manageable since Acadia officials began using a reservation system in May, […]

infrastructure biden sinema press conference

Bipartisan senators and Biden strike a deal on $550B in new infrastructure spending

By: - July 28, 2021

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of U.S. senators say they have worked through the sticking points on a major infrastructure package, paving the way for a vote to begin debate on that proposal as soon as Wednesday evening. That announcement came a week after Republicans blocked a test vote on the deal, with GOP senators opposed […]

covid-19 coronavirus n95 masks mask

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 […]

evictions

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 and housing advocates have been scrambling […]

infrastructure biden sinema press conference

Biden meets with mayors and governors on infrastructure package

By: - July 14, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden met with a group of governors and mayors on Wednesday, including Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, as he seeks to build support for a massive federal infrastructure package awaiting action from Congress.