Archives by: Ariana Figueroa

Ariana Figueroa

About the author

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

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Freedom of speech is under attack in public schools, U.S. House panel told

Students and teachers told U.S. House members during a Thursday hearing that their right to talk about race and LGBTQ+ issues in public schools is being silenced due to an onslaught of new state laws as well as pressure on school boards from right-wing advocates. “To be crystal clear, this is about disrupting and destroying public education,” James Whitfield, a former principal in Texas and one of the witnesses, told lawmakers.

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Congress Health News Top Story

Health risks for families in military private housing probed by U.S. Senate panel

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs panel on Tuesday grilled officials running private housing for service members about reports of deplorable living conditions from military families. The hearing, led by Chairman Sen. Jon Ossoff, a Georgia Democrat, and top GOP member Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, followed a joint release of a report by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

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Congress Education News Top Story

LGBTQ community, people of color in the crosshairs of banned book movement

Students in one Pennsylvania school district were not allowed to read a biography of the first Black President, Barack Obama. In some Tennessee classrooms, a nonfiction comic book about the atrocities of the Holocaust is banned. And one school district in Wisconsin banned from libraries a picture book about a gay rights activist who was assassinated.

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News Top Story

‘Sitting on a time bomb’: Mobile home residents at risk in red-hot housing market

WASHINGTON — Jon Zang walks his dog several times a day in his mobile home community in West Goshen Township, Pennsylvania. It’s quiet, as most of his neighbors are at work. But he often wonders how many more walks he and his bulldog mix, Ladybug, will have down the streets of the place he’s called home for 21 years. “We’re literally sitting on a time bomb that we’re sure is going to go off at some point, but we don’t know when,” Zang said.

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Congress Education News Top Story

More than 1,500 books have been banned in public schools, and a U.S. House panel asks why

WASHINGTON — A U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee panel on Thursday examined why thousands of books, predominantly written by marginalized authors, have been banned from public schools, and the impact of those actions on students and teachers. “Most books being targeted for censorship are books that introduce ideas about diversity or our common humanity, books that teach children to recognize and respect humanity in one another,” said the chair of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Rep. Jamie Raskin.

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Congress News Top Story

‘A crisis that is hiding in plain sight’: Missing and murdered women of color

WASHINGTON — Parents at a Thursday congressional hearing about missing and murdered women of color detailed their frustrating attempts to get the attention of law enforcement and adequate media coverage. “This is a crisis that is hiding in plain sight,” said Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat and chair of the U.S. House Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

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Congress Higher Ed News Top Story

Students defrauded by for-profit colleges to get millions in loan repayments

Action comes as part of Biden administration's "borrower defense" initiative WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Education announced Wednesday that nearly 16,000 student borrowers would receive millions in loan repayments, after the department found that four private for-profit institutions made misleading claims about their job placement rates.

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D.C. - Capiitol
Congress News Top Story

With voting rights stalled, some senators mull an update to the Electoral Count Act

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of senators is exploring legislation to overhaul how Congress counts Electoral College votes, but backers of stalled voting rights legislation are lukewarm on the effort as a substitute. The Electoral Count Act is an obscure law that has come under recent scrutiny, a year after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

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Congress COVID-19 News Top Story

Biden sends medical teams to 6 states, promises more free COVID tests and masks

As infection rates spike across the nation, the President takes emergency action WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the federal government will deploy military medical units to six states to assist hospitals overwhelmed with the recent spike of the omicron coronavirus variant. Starting next week, more than 120 medical personnel — the beginning of a deployment of 1,000 service members — will go to hospitals in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Michigan and New Mexico.

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Defending Democracy News Top Story

Biden in Jan. 6 speech decries ‘web of lies’ created by Trump about 2020 election

President Joe Biden on Thursday warned of the dangers of a collapse of American democracy, standing in a historic chamber in the U.S. Capitol that was besieged by an angry mob of pro-Trump supporters who attempted to halt the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

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