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.

Closeup of a man smoking a joint

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

By: , and - October 6, 2022

This story was updated on Oct. 7 at 5:55 a.m. WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Thursday announced executive actions that would pardon thousands of people with prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession. Biden then called on governors to follow suit with state offenses for simple marijuana possession, saying that “just as no one should […]

People hold up blue signs with red letters spelling out the word "Home" in front of the U.S. Supreme Court

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 […]

A sign that says Voting in four languages.

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 […]

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. […]

barbed wire

Federal prisons ‘riddled with mismanagement’ probed by U.S. Senate panel

By: - September 30, 2022

WASHINGTON – Members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in a Thursday hearing grilled the top leader of federal prisons on how the agency would address staffing shortages and reports of abuse of incarcerated people.  “The Bureau (of Prisons) has been riddled with mismanagement and, sadly, with scandal,” said the chair of the committee, Illinois […]

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 […]

Books on a shelf

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

By: - September 19, 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 8, 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 […]

Activists call on President Biden to cancel student debt during a protest

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 […]

A sign for the CDC

CDC endorses updated COVID-19 vaccine boosters for this fall

By: - September 2, 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 […]

Star of David necklace on book with Hebrew text

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 […]