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.

Des Moines students protest divisive concepts ban and charter schools at Capitol

By: - April 26, 2021

Des Moines Public School students gathered on the steps of the Iowa Capitol on Monday afternoon to protest two education bills: one that would create new pathways for charter schools to form and another to ban certain “divisive concepts” from school training and curricula. “Diversity means nothing if we aren’t willing or even allowed to […]

Iowa’s daily COVID-19 cases down 20%, as Johnson & Johnson shots begin again

By: - April 26, 2021

COVID-19 cases in Iowa are down 20% over two weeks ago, while demand for the vaccine in the state is beginning to decline.  Iowa averaged 416 new cases per day over the past week, matching the rates of infection from last summer. The statewide daily case average has declined by 20% over the past two […]

Lawmakers resurrect child care, public assistance proposals in budget negotiations

By: - April 24, 2021

House and Senate Republicans have resurrected several policy bills as the session winds to a close and lawmakers work toward budget agreements. Lawmakers began discussion Thursday of the House Republicans’ Health and Human Services budget proposal. Much of the proposal matches with the Senate and Gov. Kim Reynolds’ recommendations: It would allocate over $2 billion […]

Democrats say prisons need a $34 million increase

By: - April 23, 2021

Democratic lawmakers called Friday for a $34 million budget increase and 300 new staff positions at the Iowa Department of Corrections. Lawmakers announced the proposal after a tour of Anamosa State Penitentiary, which they described as understaffed and overcrowded. The trip came one month after two inmates attacked staff at the prison, killing a correctional […]

ACLU challenges Iowa law restricting public funds for transgender medical care

By: - April 22, 2021

The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa filed a lawsuit Thursday against a state law that exempts Medicaid and other public insurance plans from funding transition-related surgeries for transgender individuals. The national ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project and the ACLU of Iowa filed the lawsuit jointly on behalf of Aiden Vasquez, a transgender Iowan who […]

Iowa lawmakers encourage vaccinations as counties decline state allotments

By: - April 22, 2021

One day after Gov. Kim Reynolds urged Iowans to overcome “vaccine hesitancy,” Democratic lawmakers shared details of their own shots and their fully vaccinated summer plans. Rep. Jennifer Konfrst, D-Windsor Heights, told reporters Thursday that she felt “liberation and enthusiasm” after her second vaccine dose, encouraging Iowans to schedule their own appointments.  “Now is the […]

Senate passes bills on alcohol delivery, automated delivery robots

By: - April 21, 2021

Homebound partiers may soon be able to get drinks delivered straight to their doors under a bill passed Wednesday by the Iowa Senate. Iowans also may start seeing robots delivering other types of packages under a separate bill moving through the Legislature. The Senate voted 39-7 to allow third-party delivery companies like UberEats, GrubHub or […]

House votes for $100M broadband budget, $50M short of governor’s request

By: - April 21, 2021

The House on Wednesday voted in favor of a $150.9 million budget for administration and regulation, including a $100 million appropriation for broadband expansion in Iowa. “With $100 million allocated for broadband, we can work to bring connectivity to Iowa’s broadband deserts, and increase speeds across the state,” bill leader Rep. John Landon, R-Ankeny, said […]

Bill forbidding voluntary diversity plans at Iowa schools headed to Gov. Reynolds

By: - April 20, 2021

Voluntary diversity plans at Iowa schools would be nullified next academic year under a bill headed to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ desk. The Iowa House agreed with the Senate’s changes to House File 228 on Tuesday afternoon. The bill would forbid school districts from implementing voluntary diversity plans that might refuse open enrollment for certain students.  […]

Department on Aging director poised for confirmation vote in Iowa Senate

By: - April 20, 2021

Department on Aging Director Linda Miller is poised for confirmation by Iowa lawmakers following a tumultuous year for the state’s nursing homes. Gov. Terry Branstad appointed Miller, a former Republican member of the Iowa House, to the director position in 2016. Since then, the department and the Long-Term Care Ombudsman’s Office, housed within the department, […]

OSHA report: Iowa Capitol ‘may expose workers to COVID-19 hazards’ under current policies

By: - April 19, 2021

Workplace safety regulators have warned lawmakers about inconsistent social distancing and temperature checks, no contact tracing and no mandatory reporting of positive cases at the State Capitol. The Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration told lawmakers on April 13 these workplace conditions at the Capitol “may expose workers to COVID-19 hazards.” Iowa OSHA administrator Russell […]

Grassley proposes mental health intervention programs amid series of mass shootings

By: - April 19, 2021

In the wake of several recent mass shootings, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley advocated Monday for more mental health intervention programs to identify dangerous individuals while still protecting the constitutional right to bear arms.  Grassley pointed toward the EAGLES Act, a bill he cosponsored in the 2019 and 2021 sessions, as a potential solution for gun […]