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.

Free speech at Iowa colleges: Lawmakers review three 2020 incidents

By: - February 3, 2021

Free speech on college campuses is once again under the microscope of Iowa’s Republican lawmakers.  Administrators from Iowa’s three regent universities met with a committee of lawmakers Tuesday to discuss free speech failings on campus. In each case, a conservative student or group felt their free speech rights were limited by fellow students, professors or […]

Vaccinations set to begin for Des Moines teachers

By: - February 2, 2021

Some Des Moines educators will get their first COVID-19 shots on Friday and Saturday as Iowa enters its next phase of vaccine distribution. Des Moines Public Schools announced in a Tuesday email to staff that the first clinic providing vaccinations would take place on Saturday. “This first clinic will be to provide both a first […]

Colleges couldn’t require off-campus masks, distancing under proposed House bill

By: - February 2, 2021

Isolation dorms. Grab-and-go dining halls. “Social moratoriums.” College campuses are a whole new world in 2021 as schools work to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Beyond just wearing masks in class, some universities have introduced policies to prohibit students from attending unmasked gatherings, traveling or hosting visitors.  At Drake University in Des Moines, for instance, […]

Lawmakers consider eliminating city bans on ‘bully breed’ dogs

By: - February 1, 2021

Colombus, a 6-week-old mixed-breed puppy, attended his first Senate subcommittee meeting on Monday. A State Government subcommittee met Monday afternoon to hear public comment on Senate File 143, which would prohibit local governments from banning certain breeds of dog.  Cedar Valley Humane Society director of operations Amanda Knefley, cradling Colombus, said Iowa’s current patchwork of […]

More COVID-19 cases at the Iowa Capitol as legislative leaders decline to increase precautions

By: - February 1, 2021

Four people at the Iowa Capitol reported testing positive for the coronavirus since the legislative session began, including two additional cases which were announced over the weekend. Rep. Amy Nielsen, D-North Liberty, confirmed to multiple news outlets that she was one of the two new cases announced Saturday.  Capitol staff and legislators are not required […]

Legislature moves to require schools to offer 100% in-person classes

By: - January 28, 2021

Iowa schools must offer 100% in-person instruction under a bill passed by the Iowa Legislature on Thursday. Senate File 160 gives Iowa schools two weeks after enactment to develop a 100% in-person option for students. Parents can decide to send their children back to school full-time or remain in a hybrid or online program. The […]

Iowa voters will decide gun-rights constitutional amendment in 2022

By: - January 28, 2021

Iowans will vote on a constitutional amendment protecting the right to bear arms in 2022. The proposed language of the constitutional amendment reads: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right. Any and […]

Iowa House advances proposed constitutional amendment restricting abortion rights

By: - January 27, 2021

The Iowa House advanced a proposed constitutional amendment Wednesday which would make explicit that the Iowa Constitution does not recognize a right to an abortion. House Joint Resolution 5 proposes a constitutional amendment which reads, “To defend and protect unborn children, we the people of the State of Iowa declare that this Constitution does not […]

Lawmakers consider including ‘political ideology’ under Iowa Civil Rights Act

By: - January 27, 2021

Iowa Republican lawmakers say they are confronting “cancel culture” with a proposal to make political ideology a protected class under the Iowa Civil Rights Act. “The woke culture philosophy of intolerance and hatred, of demanding all must agree, I think is profoundly dangerous and disturbing in our country,” Rep. Steven Holt, R-Denison said. “That is […]

Lawmakers puzzle over year-round daylight saving time

By: - January 27, 2021

A Senate subcommittee advanced a proposal Wednesday that could, with the cooperation of neighboring states, make daylight saving time last all year. Like most states, Iowa currently switches between Central Standard Time, which takes place from November until March, and daylight saving time for the rest of the year.  The cycle began in 1966, when […]

Senate committee approves family, educator tax credits in charter school bill

By: - January 26, 2021

Teachers and parents of homeschool students would be eligible for additional tax credits under a bill advancing in the Iowa Senate this week. Senate File 159 proposes a scholarship fund for students in some of Iowa’s public schools to attend charter or private schools instead. The bill would also allow charter schools to start independently […]

Lawmakers advance governor’s plan to expand state support for non-public schools

By: - January 25, 2021

Schools would have to offer full-time, in-person instruction and the state would financially support more options for students to attend private schools if two bills that advanced in the Iowa Senate Monday become law. Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, identified both issues as priorities for the legislative session.  Senate Study Bill 1064 would require schools […]