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.


Statehouse standoff leaves Iowans in the dark

By: - April 18, 2022

The 100th day of the 2022 legislative session in Iowa is Tuesday. I know that’s probably not a day marked on your calendar. Most Iowans don’t pay much attention to whether the Legislature is in session or not. Those who celebrate Easter, Passover or Ramadan may have been spending time with family. Others may be […]

House advances ‘compromise’ bottle bill with broad bipartisan support

By: - April 12, 2022

Iowa’s bottle bill appears closer to a major overhaul than at any time in its 44-year history. The Iowa House quickly approved a compromise bill Tuesday on a bipartisan, 70-16 vote that allows retailers to opt out of redeeming empty containers under certain conditions. The bill still needs Senate approval. “This has been a long […]


Bottle bill proposals will leave Iowans holding their cans

By: - April 4, 2022

Iowa lawmakers seem poised, with their latest effort to update the state’s popular but long-struggling bottle bill, to give everyone what they want. Everyone, that is, except consumers. What do consumers want? Most simply want the convenience of returning their empties to their grocery stores or nearby redemption centers. They also want to keep bottles […]

Iowa Senate bill would stop cities from restricting fireworks sales in commercial, industrial zones

By: - March 30, 2022

Iowa local governments would no longer be able to restrict the sale of fireworks in parts of their communities zoned for commercial or industrial use under a bill passed Wednesday by the Iowa Senate. Sen. Mike Klimesh, R-Spillville, offered the proposal as an amendment to Senate File 2285, which deals with local planning and zoning […]

Senate votes to allow retailers to quit accepting bottle and can returns

By: - March 29, 2022

Retailers would be allowed to opt out of accepting bottle and can returns starting in 2023, redemption centers would get a raise and beverage wholesalers would continue to keep unredeemed deposits under a bill approved Tuesday by the Iowa Senate. Sen. Jason Schultz, R-Schleswig, floor manager of Senate File 2378, said it was “an attempt […]


Legislative sausage making: Who cares about the process?

By: - March 21, 2022

State Rep. Bobby Kaufmann recently remarked at a legislative committee meeting: “The people back home …, they don’t give a sh** about the process. They care about results.” Kaufmann, who recently made news for flipping the bird with both hands at a public event in the Statehouse rotunda, is ever classy. But I laughed when […]

Proposed bottle bill overhaul allows retailers to refuse container returns

By: - March 17, 2022

Iowa grocery stores and other retailers would be allowed to opt out of taking back bottle and can returns and repaying deposits in 2023 under the latest version of a bill making its way through the Iowa Senate. Sen. Jason Schultz, R-Schleswig, and Republicans on the Senate Ways and Means Committee passed the rewrite of […]

Senate panel votes to move Iowa to permanent daylight saving time – if border states also change

By: - March 16, 2022

A state Senate committee voted Wednesday to require bordering states to move permanently to daylight saving time before Iowans could stop changing their clocks twice a year. The move comes after the Iowa House passed a bill last week to move the state permanently to daylight saving time if Congress legalizes the action. The Senate […]


Reynolds says she ‘trusts’ Iowans. Will she trust them with her agenda?

By: - March 14, 2022

Four years ago, I drove down to Osceola to cover the kickoff for Gov. Kim Reynolds’ first campaign at the top of the gubernatorial ticket. She gave a roughly 10-minute speech that was focused almost entirely on her small-town roots and the accomplishments of the Branstad administration. (She served for over seven years as lieutenant […]


Iowa’s tax cut: Who will play now and who will pay later?

By: - March 7, 2022

“There are two paths people can take. They can either play now and pay later, or pay now and play later. Regardless of the choice, one thing is certain. Life will demand a payment.” — John C. Maxwell  Play now, pay later. That sums up Iowa’s “historic” income-tax cut, which Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law […]


Parents’ rights? Not this time, GOP says

By: - February 28, 2022

When I was in high school, I agreed to teach a Sunday school class for 3-year-olds at my church with another high-school classmate. The class was only 45 minutes long, and mostly consisted of coloring, simple crafts and reading Bible stories to the children. No big deal – except there were at least 10 kids […]


GOP works to pile on more absentee ballot rules

By: - February 21, 2022

The Republican majority in the Iowa Legislature has approved more than 50 pages of new election laws since the beginning of 2020, with the result of making it more complicated to obtain and return an absentee ballot. They have made changes over the past few years to nearly every aspect of the absentee voting process: […]