Author

Kathie Obradovich

Kathie Obradovich

Editor Kathie Obradovich has been covering Iowa government and politics for more than 30 years, most recently as political columnist and opinion editor for the Des Moines Register. She previously covered the Iowa Statehouse for 10 years for newspapers in Davenport, Waterloo, Sioux City, Mason City and Muscatine. She is a leading voice on Iowa politics and makes regular appearances on state, national and international news programs. She has led national-award-winning coverage of the Iowa Caucuses and the Register’s Iowa Poll.

COMMENTARY

There’s still time for Iowa lawmakers to address real-world problems

By: - April 5, 2021

At first, I thought it must be a typo:  A bill in the Iowa Senate moved out of subcommittee last week with the votes of far-right Republican Sen. Jim Carlin and Iowa City progressive Sen. Joe Bolkcom. The bill, a measure aimed at protecting health-care professionals from surgical smoke, didn’t survive last week’s funnel deadline. […]

COMMENTARY
Governor signs mental health legislation

Half-kept promises on mental health won’t shield Iowans from gun violence

By: - March 29, 2021

Gov. Kim Reynolds, like many Republicans, wants to change the subject from gun control and talk about mental health instead. So let’s talk about mental health. She was asked last week whether she would sign a bill scrapping handgun permit requirements in Iowa in the wake of two mass shootings in Colorado and Georgia. She […]

Senate panel takes aim at pests in forest reserves

By: - March 25, 2021

An Iowa Senate committee approved a proposal Thursday detailing specific management actions the owners of forest reserves would have to take to keep their property tax exemptions. The Ways and Means Committee voted to amend Senate Study Bill 1253, which makes extensive tax changes including a proposal to tighten the property tax exemption for forest […]

Legislative leaders still uncertain about effect of tax-cut plans on federal COVID relief

By: - March 25, 2021

Iowa lawmakers may have to decide whether to proceed with plans for tax cuts before knowing for sure if the action could jeopardize federal coronavirus relief dollars, House Speaker Pat Grassley said Thursday. Grassley, speaking with reporters before a Senate committee meeting, said the status of any tax cuts remains uncertain because of restrictions in […]

Iowa on track to expand vaccine eligibility; minority communities lag in access to shots

By: - March 24, 2021

Gov. Kim Reynolds said Iowa is still on track to open eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines to all adults next month but she acknowledged there is no statewide outreach effort to minority communities and others who face barriers in accessing the vaccine. Reynolds said Wednesday that about 517,000 Iowans are now fully vaccinated. She said about […]

Reynolds declines to say whether she’ll sign bill eliminating handgun permit requirement

By: - March 24, 2021

Gov. Kim Reynolds would not say Wednesday whether she plans to sign legislation approved last week to eliminate permit requirements for Iowans to purchase or carry a handgun. Reynolds, responding to a reporter’s question at a news conference, said her staff is currently reviewing House File 756. The bill received final approval by the Iowa […]

Lawmakers host their own COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Capitol

By: - March 23, 2021

About 25 Iowa legislators and staff received a shot in the arm at the Iowa Capitol Tuesday during a COVID-19 clinic organized by two state representatives. It was a bipartisan effort: Rep. John Forbes, an Urbandale pharmacist, is a Democrat, and Rep. Ann Meyer, a registered nurse from Fort Dodge, is a Republican. Two Drake […]

Second gentleman visits Iowa, announces SNAP benefits increase

By: - March 22, 2021

Douglas Emhoff, making his first visit to Iowa as second gentleman, announced Monday that federal food-assistance benefits would increase by 15% through September 2021. The increase in the SNAP program, formerly known as food stamps, will provide an estimated $3.5 billion to households with food insecurity, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The increase […]

COMMENTARY

Standing up for free speech (unless it’s about white privilege or implicit bias)

By: - March 22, 2021

Sales of dandruff shampoo should be spiking in Iowa after all the head-scratching over the latest adventures of the Iowa Legislature. There’s been a lot to puzzle over. Just last week, the Legislature gave final approval to a bill to make it legal for landlords in three Iowa cities to kick poor people out of […]

Second gentleman Douglas Emhoff to visit Iowa

By: - March 19, 2021

Second gentleman Douglas Emhoff will visit Iowa on Monday, the White House announced Friday. Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, is scheduled to join U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for an event in Des Moines. Vilsack, the former Iowa governor, was confirmed last month for his second tenure as head of the […]

COMMENTARY

GOP defenders of First Amendment stood by while press freedom was on trial

By: - March 15, 2021

Iowa Republican lawmakers, as you’ve read in this space, have been so terribly concerned about the First Amendment this year that some are willing to destroy Iowa’s state universities and potentially harm business recruitment to make a point about free speech. Senators have passed legislation out of committee to eliminate tenure at state universities, even […]

COMMENTARY

Don’t let the ‘new normal’ leave the public out of public business

By: - March 30, 2020

The news that the State Capitol was closing to the public due to the coronavirus outbreak was just one in a stream of emails from government agencies over the past two weeks announcing they would be conducting the people’s business while temporarily ending the people’s access to public offices. Social distancing is important right now […]