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.

Biden to pardon all federal offenses for simple marijuana possession, review criminalization

By: , and - October 6, 2022

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Thursday announced executive actions that would pardon thousands of people with prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession. He will also direct U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra and Attorney General Merrick Garland to review how marijuana is classified under federal law as a Schedule I drug, the Drug Enforcement […]

DACA ruled unlawful by federal appeals court, but program continues for now

By: - October 6, 2022

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court has upheld a prior ruling that the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is unlawful, sending the case back to a lower court that will decide the legality of the program that includes more than 600,000 undocumented people. The ruling means the program remains for now and those in it […]

Alabama case that could limit Voting Rights Act heard at U.S. Supreme Court

By: - October 4, 2022

WASHINGTON – U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday heard oral arguments in a case that challenges an Alabama redistricting map and could potentially eliminate remaining federal safeguards against racial gerrymandering. Voting rights advocates fear that the high court’s conservative majority will further weaken the Voting Rights Act, with implications for voters in states across the country. […]

Puerto Rico to get $60M to prep for future hurricanes, Biden announces

By: - October 3, 2022

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Monday landed in Ponce, Puerto Rico to survey the damage from Hurricane Fiona and announce $60 million in funding to help the island prepare for future hurricanes. The visit came after the Category 1 hurricane in late September damaged the power grid, leaving millions in Puerto Rico without power. […]

Biden to battered Florida: ‘We’re going to do everything we can for you’

By: - September 30, 2022

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden addressed the nation Friday afternoon, focusing on uniting the country as Florida begins to survey the damage left by a Category 4 hurricane, while states further up the coast prepare for the impact from Hurricane Ian. “As you all know, the situation in Florida is far more devastating,” Biden said. […]

U.S. House panel investigating Jan. 6 attack postpones hearing

By: - September 27, 2022

WASHINGTON — A Wednesday hearing planned by the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol has been postponed due to Hurricane Ian nearing landfall in Florida. A new date has not been announced. “In light of Hurricane Ian bearing down on parts of Florida, we have decided to postpone tomorrow’s […]

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

By: - September 23, 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 […]

Faith leaders urge minimum wage hike, expanded child tax credit as Congress nears recess

By: - September 22, 2022

WASHINGTON — Faith leaders pressed Congress to pass voting rights legislation, a $15 minimum wage and a permanent expansion of the child tax credit during a Thursday briefing on Capitol Hill. “Poverty is a policy choice,” Rev. Dr. William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, said to lawmakers. Barber, who is the pastor of Greenleaf […]

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 […]

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

By: - September 14, 2022

WASHINGTON — Farmers and academics at a Wednesday hearing 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 […]

Congressional panel debates federal role in preventing youth incarceration

By: - September 11, 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 urges boost in teacher pay, touts college debt relief

By: - September 7, 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 […]