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.


Legislators aren’t doing their job. It’s time for the governor to do hers.

By: - April 26, 2021

One of the first things I learned when I started covering the Iowa Legislature almost 30 years ago was the only work lawmakers really have to do is pass a budget. Everything else is optional. And yet, we are starting what should be the final week of the 2021 session without a single budget bill […]

Senate votes to cut civil penalty for deer poaching

By: - April 21, 2021

Iowa senators, citing concerns about crop damage and car accidents caused by deer, approved a bill Wednesday to cut by two-thirds the civil penalty for killing antlerless deer out of season and ordering a study on deer population in the state. Sen. Ken Rozenboom, R-Oskaloosa, said he regularly sees as many as nine deer carcasses […]


GOP lawmakers’ actions speak louder than their words on law enforcement

By: - April 19, 2021

“Now before we get into this debate tonight, let me be clear. If you support law enforcement — truly support law enforcement, you will be voting ‘yes’ tonight. If you stand up tonight and say you support law enforcement, your words will become meaningless with a ‘no’ vote on this bill. Actions speak louder than […]


GOP lawmakers use budget to bludgeon state universities

By: - April 12, 2021

Iowans who remember what it was like to live in a state that prized education no doubt heaved a sigh of relief when a vindictive and counterproductive bill to ban tenure at state universities failed to advance in the Legislature. Iowa employers, chamber groups and agriculture associations lobbied against that bill, which they said would […]

Committee approves $20 million increase for prisons as Reynolds promises Anamosa investigation

By: and - April 7, 2021

The House Appropriations Committee approved a $34.6 million increase in the proposed budget for state justice systems Wednesday, including what a lawmaker called “possibly a record increase” of $20.5 million for state prison salaries and staffing. Rep. Gary Worthan, R-Storm Lake, called the proposal a “culmination” of his 11 years overseeing this budget.  “It’s not […]

Iowa Senate changes proposed abortion amendment

By: - April 6, 2021

The Iowa Senate on Tuesday passed an altered version of a proposed constitutional amendment that would declare there is no right to an abortion. The House passed House Joint Resolution 5 on Jan. 27. The original language stated: “To defend and protect unborn children, we the people of the State of Iowa declare that this Constitution […]


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. […]

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 […]