Katie Akin

Katie Akin

Katie Akin is a former Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter. Katie 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.

Reynolds’ plan to restrict transgender children’s role in school sports faces opposition

By: and - May 6, 2021

Gov. Kim Reynolds’ plan to restrict the participation of transgender children in school sports is facing opposition from Democrats and some Iowa faith leaders. At her press conference Wednesday, Reynolds reiterated her desire to sign legislation that will in some way limit the ability of transgender students to participate in sports alongside other children. She […]

Vaccine passport ban headed to Gov. Reynolds’ desk

By: - May 5, 2021

Iowa businesses may not ask for proof of vaccination from customers under a bill passed Wednesday by the Iowa Senate. The so-called “vaccine passport” bill was introduced in April, following a request from Gov. Kim Reynolds. It forbids businesses and governmental agencies from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for customers or visitors. Temperature checks or […]

House and Senate still far apart on mental health property tax, inheritance tax timeline

By: - May 5, 2021

Gov. Kim Reynolds and Senate Republicans are in agreement on a tax proposal that would shift mental health funding to the state, accelerate income tax cuts and eliminate the inheritance tax. But House leadership is holding back, arguing that more planning is necessary for some major tax changes. Reynolds rolled out her “compromise” proposal at […]

covid-19 cell pastel

Two Iowans test positive for India variant of COVID-19

By: - May 4, 2021

Two Iowans have tested positive for the India variant of the COVID-19 virus, the Iowa Department of Public Health announced Tuesday. The variant, known as B.1.617, was first detected in India and remains prevalent there. As COVID-19 cases explode in India, with 20 million cases reported, scientists have not determined whether the strain is more […]

Democrats call for more COVID-19 fund oversight after Reynolds returns $95 million

By: - May 3, 2021

Days after Gov. Kim Reynolds told Fox News that Iowa had returned $95 million of federal funds, Democratic lawmakers are calling for more oversight into how COVID-19 stimulus money is handled. Democrats Sen. Claire Celsi, West Des Moines, and Rep. Ruth Ann Gaines, Des Moines, called for the state’s Government Oversight Committees to meet about […]

University of Illinois administrator selected as next University of Iowa president

By: - April 30, 2021

Barbara Wilson, the executive vice president at the University of Illinois system, will be the next University of Iowa president after a unanimous vote by the Board of Regents. “We’re going to make the University of Iowa as good as it can be and even better,” said Wilson, who currently serves as the executive vice […]

Several major bills linger as Iowa legislative session heads into overtime

By: - April 29, 2021

Friday marks the 110th day of Iowa’s legislative session, the final day that lawmakers are being paid per diem for their work at the Capitol. But several key issues including the state budget, tax cuts, policing, unemployment and “vaccine passports,” have yet to be resolved. “I had a Republican put it to me this way […]

Fuel retailers, farmers find no compromise on biofuels bill

By: - April 29, 2021

Fuel retailers and trucking groups criticized the latest version of a proposal to set state biofuel standards, clashing during a Thursday morning meeting with agriculture groups that support the bill. “This bill, as written, is detrimental to the retail industry and consumers at large,” said Jason McDermott, owner of several Iowa convenience stores and the […]

Charter school bill heads to Gov. Reynolds’ desk, divisive concepts bill gets a makeover

By: - April 28, 2021

State senators approved a controversial charter school bill Wednesday that would allow new institutions to open outside the purview of a school board. House File 813 would create a new pathway for charter schools to form independently, applying and reporting directly to the State Board of Education. The Senate passed the proposal along party lines, […]

What would Biden’s infrastructure proposal mean for Central Iowa?

By: - April 28, 2021

U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne met with over a dozen Iowa business and advocacy group leaders Wednesday to discuss the American Jobs Plan, a $2 trillion infrastructure proposal by President Joe Biden. Axne, a Democrat, called the wide-ranging legislation “long overdue.” Participants in the round-table discussion highlighted Iowa’s need for broadband internet, better water quality, improved […]

House passes bills on pumpkin patch perils, fertility fraud

By: - April 27, 2021

Pumpkin patches, apple orchards and petting farms would face fewer legal repercussions when tourists get injured on their property under a bill passed Tuesday by the Iowa House. Senate File 356, called the “Iowa Agricultural Tourism Promotion Act,” would give new legal protections to farms that offer tours. If a visitor is injured or killed […]

Bottle bill proposal, with new civil penalties, moves through House panel

By: - April 27, 2021

Lawmakers met Tuesday morning, in the dwindling days of the 2021 legislative session, to discuss a years-long headache: the bottle bill. The most recent proposal for the legislation would allow some retailers to decline bottle and can returns if a redemption center is nearby. It would also introduce a civil penalty of up to $2,500 […]