Author

Katie Akin

Katie Akin

Reporter Katie Akin began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.

Evolving version of election bill speeds through Iowa House and Senate committees

By: - February 18, 2021

House and Senate committees passed a 36-page election bill Thursday that would shorten the window for absentee and early voting and would introduce harsher penalties for election officials who do not follow state guidelines. Lawmakers introduced the identical bills, House File 590 and Senate File 413, just two days before. Republicans leading the bills said […]

Lawmakers consider bill to shorten absentee and early voting, prosecute election officials

By: - February 17, 2021

Lawmakers in the House and Senate considered a proposal Wednesday that would give Iowans less time to request and return absentee ballots and would impose stricter penalties including potential incarceration on election officials who do not follow state guidelines. “This bill creates uniform election procedures across all 99 counties, it clarifies enforcement and authority … […]

Senate and House agree: 2.4% increase in school funding for next year

By: - February 17, 2021

State supplemental aid for Iowa schools will grow by 2.4% for the 2021-2022 school year under a bill passed by the House and the Senate. The House passed its version of the school funding bill Feb. 11. The Senate, which had approved a 2.2% increase on Feb. 9, voted Wednesday in favor of the House […]

Can employers mandate vaccines in Iowa? Controversial Senate bill would say no

By: - February 16, 2021

Sen. Jim Carlin, R-Sioux City, volleyed several debunked anti-vaccination talking points at Iowa Department of Public Health’s Dr. Caitlin Pedati during a Tuesday afternoon meeting. Carlin asked why there were so many vaccinations now, noting he only got three or four shots as a child. He asked why more children seem to be sick with chronic […]

Parents would need to consent to gender identity curriculum under Senate bill

By: - February 16, 2021

Parents would need to provide written consent for elementary school students to discuss gender identity at school under a bill moving through the Iowa Senate. Senate File 167 would prohibit Iowa elementary schools from teaching about gender identity, defined as the “gender-related identity of a person, regardless of the person’s assigned sex at birth,” without […]

Bill would give $30 million to schools that stayed open during COVID-19

By: - February 15, 2021

A bill moving through Iowa’s House would provide an additional $30 million to Iowa schools based on how much in-person learning they offered during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under orders from Gov. Kim Reynolds, schools in Iowa had three options to reopen in the fall: Open full-time and in-person; offer a hybrid model that allowed for […]

Des Moines restaurants expect a busy Valentine’s weekend despite COVID-19

By: - February 12, 2021

As Valentine’s Day approaches, Scott Carlson is setting candles out at his restaurants for the first time in nearly a year. Carlson owns Americana and Court Ave. Brewing Co., both in downtown Des Moines, and Gilroy’s in West Des Moines. In the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, staff took everything off the tables, […]

House passes $36.5 million increase for Iowa schools

By: - February 11, 2021

The Iowa House passed a school funding bill Thursday night that would increase state supplemental aid by 2.4% and provide more funding for school transportation. Rep. Cecil Dolecheck, R-Mount Ayr, said the bill would allocate an additional $36.5 million to schools in the 2021-2022 academic year. The bill contributes an estimated $768,000 to help districts […]

Iowa lawmakers look to expand vaccine distribution as Fauci promises supply increase

By: - February 11, 2021

Iowa lawmakers are looking toward new ways of distributing the COVID-19 vaccine as U.S. experts promise an increase in the vaccine supply is around the corner. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the “Today Show” Thursday that he expects April to be “open season” for everyone to […]

House passes six child care bills: Tax credits, employer child care incentives and more

By: - February 10, 2021

Democrats pushed for more provider regulations as the Iowa House passed six child care bills Wednesday evening. Most of the bills passed on a bipartisan basis with near-unanimous consent. They expand tax credits for parents and for employers that provide child care, eliminate a so-called “cliff” in child care benefits, and increase reimbursements for child […]

Transgender school bathroom restrictions advance in Iowa Senate

By: - February 10, 2021

Liz Lundberg’s voice shook as she considered the possibility that her young, transgender daughter might have to use the boys’ restroom in school. “Callie, my 5-year-old girl, in kindergarten, would face harassment, bullying and possibly assault if she used the boys’ bathroom,” Lundberg said. “But she would be breaking the law and could get in […]

Senate takes aim at distracted driving with new definition, increased penalties

By: - February 10, 2021

Iowans already can’t legally text and drive, but a bill moving through the Senate could also make some on-the-go phone calls illegal. Senate File 46 would expand Iowa law to forbid any use of an electronic communication device while driving that would take hands off the wheel. Beyond just texting, the proposed bill would include […]