Author

Ariana Figueroa

Ariana Figueroa

Ariana Figueroa covers the nation's capital for States Newsroom. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections and campaign finance. Before joining States Newsroom, Ariana covered public health and chemical policy on Capitol Hill for E&E News. As a Florida native, she's worked for the Miami Herald and her hometown paper, the Tampa Bay Times. Her work has also appeared in the Chicago Tribune and NPR. She is a graduate of the University of Florida.

Supreme Court justices skeptical about New York gun control law

By: - November 3, 2021

WASHINGTON — Conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court expressed skepticism Wednesday after listening to two hours of oral arguments on a New York law that imposes strict limits on carrying a gun outside the home — a case that will test how far states can go when crafting their own laws. In New York State […]

What’s in — and out — of Biden’s $1.75 trillion social spending and climate bill

By: and - October 28, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s sprawling social spending and climate package has been slimmed down into a still-massive $1.75 trillion plan that he and top congressional Democrats are attempting to wrestle through after months of negotiations. Snipped from that proposal are a number of key priorities for Democrats, including an attempt to create the first […]

Biden pitches new $1.75 trillion spending blueprint to Dems that drops paid family leave

By: - October 28, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden met with congressional Democrats on Capitol Hill Thursday to pitch lawmakers on a new slimmed-down framework for what would be included in a massive social reform package, according to senior administration officials. The $1.75 trillion blueprint that Biden is presented to Democrats includes a universal pre-K program for 3- and 4-year-olds, limits […]

U.S. attorney general defends FBI probe of threats against school board members

By: - October 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Republicans grilled Attorney General Merrick Garland for more than four hours on Wednesday about a Justice Department investigation into threats made to local school board members in multiple states. Garland at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing declined to revoke a memo he wrote asking the FBI to meet with local law enforcement to […]

National school boards group apologizes for requesting probe of threats against local officials

By: - October 26, 2021

WASHINGTON — The National School Boards Association is walking back its letter to President Joe Biden asking for federal help for school board members who have been harassed and threatened over masking requirements and discussions of race in public schools. The shift came after Republican members of Congress led by Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley raised strong objections […]

Grassley pushes back on federal probe of threats against teachers

By: - October 7, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, along with other congressional Republicans, objected Thursday to Justice Department plan to investigate violent threats made against local school board members and teachers, arguing that the federal agency is “policing the speech of citizens and concerned parents.” “Violence and true threats of violence should have no place […]

FBI to investigate threats made against school board members, teachers

By: - October 5, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice has directed the FBI to meet with local governments and law enforcement to discuss strategies for dealing with increasing threats to teachers and school board members spurred by a conservative backlash against classroom discussions of race. “Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our […]

Congress has a plan for universal pre-K, but will states opt in?

By: - October 1, 2021

WASHINGTON — Nearly a fifth of President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion sweeping social spending package is dedicated to providing low-cost care for children from birth to kindergarten — investments that would benefit single parents and low-income families. But how the states implement their programs for pre-K for 3-and 4-year-olds — or whether they even decide […]

Congressional panel hears from educators on how to safely reopen schools

By: - September 29, 2021

WASHINGTON — A school superintendent from a large Nevada district on Wednesday described how schools there have coped with the pandemic and returned to in-person learning, as members of Congress examined best practices for safe reopening. Jesus Jara, superintendent of Clark County School District, which includes Las Vegas, told a virtual panel of the House […]

Biden administration rolls out new rule to bolster DACA as litigation continues

By: - September 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Monday unveiled a proposed new rule that would strengthen the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to protect undocumented people in the program from legal challenges. The proposed rule, announced by the Department of Homeland Security, would “preserve and fortify” the DACA program, an Obama administration-era initiative that protects […]

Georgia secretary of state attacked by Trump decries ‘huge disinformation campaign’ over 2020 election

By: - September 26, 2021

WASHINGTON — Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican who took the brunt of former President Donald Trump’s attacks over Georgia’s 2020 election results, said he hopes election disinformation starts to dissipate. “People weren’t questioning the (election) process before, but there was a huge disinformation campaign which really destabilized many segments of American society,” […]

Advocates press for action in Congress on voting rights, despite grim outlook

By: - September 22, 2021

WASHINGTON — Activists are ramping up the pressure on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to move on his chamber’s version of a voting rights bill, even though there’s no sign there will be enough Republican support to advance it. Alternatively, they’re pressing for an end to the filibuster, though there’s no indication there would be […]