Author

Jacob Fischler

Jacob Fischler

Jacob covers federal policy as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. Based in Oregon, he focuses on Western issues. His coverage areas include climate, energy development, public lands and infrastructure.

Trump moves to extend unemployment benefits, suspend payroll taxes after talks break down

By: and - August 8, 2020

President Donald Trump on Saturday circumvented Congress and took action into his own hands, after weeks of unsuccessful negotiations over another coronavirus relief package on Capitol Hill. He signed three presidential memoranda and an executive order at his private golf club in Bedminster, N.J. Trump would provide $300 per week in federal unemployment assistance with […]

House passes bipartisan public lands bill; next stop president’s desk

By: and - July 22, 2020

WASHINGTON — Major environmental legislation sailed through Congress Wednesday while the nation’s political leaders were stuck in intense negotiations over the contours of a fifth coronavirus relief package. The bill would provide $9.5 billion over five years to pay down the National Park Service’s maintenance backlog and provide permanent funding at $900 million per year […]

Pandemic strains emergency responders with more disasters on horizon

By: - June 1, 2020

Federal officials have more money than ever to respond to disasters, but some worry their focus on the pandemic could hamstring efforts to recover from other catastrophes in Iowa. Congressional Democrats, health experts and Iowa’s emergency management director have warned in recent weeks that the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s pandemic response could come at the […]

Librarians, national guard recruited for states’ new contact tracing armies 

By: - May 24, 2020

As states seek to loosen wide-ranging restrictions imposed to constrain the novel coronavirus, they’re also looking to deploy a huge new fleet of workers to keep cases under control. Enter the contact tracers. With interpersonal contact certain to increase as states lift COVID-19 restrictions, tracing the individuals with whom infected people had contact — and […]

Can lessons from the Great Recession help states avoid budget disasters? 

By: - May 7, 2020

As they face massive budget shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic, states are looking for federal money to help stave off the kind of drastic cuts they enacted during the last economic downturn. State budget officers and economists generally agree that cuts to state spending worsened the Great Recession in the years following 2008. Layoffs, […]

Pandemic fuels state feuds over gun rights

By: - April 23, 2020

COVID-19 has ignited the debate over gun rights as states grapple with whether to allow gun sales while other retailers are forced to shutter. Stores selling guns and ammunition remain legally open in 45 states that include sellers and manufacturers as essential services that are exempted from orders shutting down most commercial activity or have […]