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 the Idaho Capital Sun. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.

Masks in window shop

CDC: You can ditch the mask in most places if fully vaccinated

By: - May 13, 2021

WASHINGTON — Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to wear a mask in most situations, indoors and outdoors, federal health officials said in an updated set of recommendations Thursday that marks a major turning point in the pandemic. The announcement is a shift from earlier federal guidance, which had urged people who are vaccinated […]

CDC headquarters in Atlanta

CDC advisory panel signs off on Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids 12 to 15

By: - May 12, 2021

WASHINGTON — A federal advisory panel is recommending that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine be administered to adolescents between 12 and 15 years old, making it the first shot available to those under 16. The green light granted Wednesday afternoon by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine advisory panel is expected to be affirmed swiftly by […]

Pfizer headquarters in NYC

FDA green lights Pfizer vaccine for kids 12-15, with CDC still to act

By: - May 10, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday signed off on expanding the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 12 to 15, clearing one key hurdle before that age group can begin receiving the two-shot vaccine. But another step is needed before tweens and teens can line up for shots. The […]

Downtown Boise

$350B in federal recovery cash rolls out to states, cities, counties — including $36.9M for Boise

By: - May 10, 2021

WASHINGTON — States, cities and counties can begin to tap their share of the $350 billion in federal funds intended to spur a national recovery from the economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, White House officials announced Monday. The Biden administration said the much-anticipated money, which was included in the massive relief law enacted earlier this […]

COVID-19 vaccine

States with higher vaccine demand will be able to request more from the feds

By: - May 4, 2021

WASHINGTON — With demand for COVID-19 vaccines dropping in many states, the federal government is changing how those doses are allocated. Under the new policy, any doses that a state doesn’t request from its weekly, population-based allotment will be held in a general pool, and states with higher demand can request additional shots from that surplus.  […]

From left to right, NASA Administrator and former U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, his wife, Grace Nelson, and Vice President Kamala Harris participate in the former senator's swearing in ceremony.

Former U.S. senator sworn in as head of NASA

By: - May 3, 2021

WASHINGTON — Former Florida Sen. Bill Nelson launched into his new gig on Monday, when Vice President Kamala Harris swore him in to serve as the new NASA administrator. Standing next to his wife, his two children, and a piece of moon rock collected during the Apollo 16 mission, the 78-year-old Nelson expressed gratitude over being […]

President Joe Biden speaks before the U.S. Congress

Biden calls for sweeping ‘once-in-a-generation investment’ to reshape the nation

By: - April 29, 2021

WASHINGTON — Standing in the same House chamber where a violent mob temporarily disrupted the certification of his victory, President Joe Biden on Wednesday heralded the country as “on the move again” as he sketched out his expansive vision for a post-pandemic America. Biden in his first address to a joint session of Congress touted quick […]

Visitors walk past face mask signs along Decatur Street in the French Quarter on July 14, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

No mask needed outdoors if you’re vaccinated, except among crowds, CDC says

By: - April 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — Fully vaccinated Americans do not need to wear a mask outdoors except in crowded settings, federal health officials said Tuesday as they updated recommendations for how vaccinated individuals can safely resume normal activities.   Those who are at least two weeks past receiving their final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine can safely be unmasked […]

U.S. map shows 17.3% increase in Idaho population

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

By: - April 26, 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 […]

The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

U.S. House passes D.C. statehood bill, but votes still lacking in Senate

By: - April 22, 2021

WASHINGTON — For the second time, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a measure to make the District of Columbia the 51st state, sending the historic bill to the Senate on a party-line vote. “We look forward to a swift vote in the Senate on this essential legislation,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-Calif.), said ahead […]

Joe Biden gets COVID-19 vaccination

Biden calls for paid time off for vaccinations as U.S. hits 200 million goal

By: - April 21, 2021

WASHINGTON — Federal and state officials now face trying to reach Americans unable or unwilling to get the COVID-19 vaccine, after meeting President Joe Biden’s goal of administering 200 million doses within his first 100 days in office. To aid in that push, Biden on Wednesday called on employers to give their workers time off […]

The J&J/Janssen vaccine is recommended for people aged 18 years and older.

Pushback against ‘vaccine passports’ puts colleges in a quandary

By: - April 19, 2021

WASHINGTON — Florida’s Nova Southeastern University joined a small group of U.S. colleges on April 1, when the private research university announced that it would require all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus this fall. In a message posted on the university’s website, NSU’s president and CEO, Dr. […]