Author

Ariana Figueroa

Ariana Figueroa

Ariana covers the nation's capital for States Newsroom. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections and campaign finance.

U.S. House passes bill reforming Electoral Count Act to stop Jan. 6 repeat

By: - September 22, 2022

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House passed on Wednesday a bill updating a 19th-century law in an attempt to prevent the subversion of future presidential elections. The Presidential Election Reform Act, which passed 229-203, is meant to deter a repeat of the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, in which the U.S. Capitol was attacked by a mob of […]

U.S. government failed to properly count deaths of people in prisons and jails, Senate report says

By: - September 21, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice did not properly count nearly 1,000 deaths of incarcerated people in jails and prisons, according to a bipartisan report released Tuesday by a U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee. The 10-month investigation by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff, found that DOJ failed […]

An ‘unprecedented flood’ of book bans engulfs U.S. school districts, PEN report says

By: - September 20, 2022

WASHINGTON — More than 1,600 book titles across 32 states were banned from public schools during the 2021-2022 school year, with the bulk of the ban requests coming from a handful of right-wing groups pushing for censorship of books that feature LGBTQ+ characters and characters of color, a new report issued Monday said. “What I […]

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Topsoil protection should be stressed in the next farm bill, U.S. House Ag panel told

By: - September 19, 2022

WASHINGTON — Farmers and academics last week stressed the need for members of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee to support regenerative agriculture farming practices in the upcoming farm bill in order to protect topsoil. U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chair David Scott said he held the hearing to discuss ways policymakers and the Department of Agriculture […]

Congressional panel debates federal role in juvenile justice reform

By: - September 9, 2022

WASHINGTON — Members of a U.S. House Education and Labor Committee panel on Thursday questioned experts and leaders of youth rehabilitation programs about how the federal government could invest in programs to prevent kids from becoming incarcerated. “Although the juvenile justice system is intended to rehabilitate—not punish—young offenders, data shows that the more a young […]

U.S. education secretary Cardona urges boost in teacher pay, touts college debt relief

By: - September 8, 2022

WASHINGTON — Amid K-12 teacher shortages, book bans and attacks over critical race theory, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona at a meeting with reporters on Wednesday stressed the need for higher salaries to attract prospective educators to the profession. Cardona also touted the Biden administration’s recent student debt relief announcement in late August. The White House said President Joe Biden […]

CDC endorses updated COVID-19 vaccine booster for this fall

By: - September 6, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late Thursday signed off on the approval from the agency’s independent vaccine advisers that recommended an updated coronavirus vaccine booster this fall. The CDC recommended boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech for those who are 12 years old and older and from Moderna for those who are 18 and older. These […]

Jewish congregations mount legal challenges to state abortion bans

By: - August 26, 2022

WASHINGTON — Thousands of years of Jewish scripture make it clear that access to abortion care is a requirement of Jewish law and practice, according to Rabbi Karen Bogard. “We preserve life at all costs,” she said in an interview with States Newsroom. “But there is a difference between that which is living, and that […]

Biden to wipe out $10,000 in student loan debt for many borrowers

By: - August 24, 2022

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he will cancel up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt for Pell Grant borrowers and up to $10,000 for all other borrowers with an income of less than $125,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a household. Biden also announced his administration is extending a pause […]

Federal officials declare a public health emergency for monkeypox

By: - August 4, 2022

WASHINGTON —  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra announced Thursday a public health emergency for the monkeypox virus, which means the federal government can more quickly assist states with distributing vaccines and conducting testing and public health campaigns. “We’re prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus, […]

Record rent increases, low wages are driving an eviction crisis, U.S. Senate panel told

By: - August 3, 2022

WASHINGTON — Witnesses in a Tuesday hearing detailed to a U.S. Senate committee how investors and stagnant wages are driving an eviction and housing crisis across the U.S. The chair of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, said families are being priced out of buying homes, and rising rents […]

Democrats in Congress press Biden to extend pause on student loans

By: - August 1, 2022

WASHINGTON  — More than 100 congressional Democrats are urging the White House to extend the pause on student loan repayment beyond the Aug. 31 deadline. In a letter to President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, U.S. Senate and House Democrats argue that due to inflation and an ongoing coronavirus pandemic, student loan borrowers […]