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.

Democrats ask for state recount changes following Hart concession

By: - April 16, 2021

Two weeks after Democrat Rita Hart withdrew her challenge of election results in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, legislative leaders are asking for changes in state recount procedures. “I think the time is right for a leadership bill for Democrats and Republicans to come together and make some bipartisan changes to how recount elections are handled […]

Grassley: House policing bill may not be ‘fast-tracked’ for passage

By: - April 15, 2021

The major policing bill lawmakers advanced this week might not be “fast-tracked” to the governor’s desk, House Speaker Pat Grassley said Thursday. “This bill is not necessarily in its final form at this point,” Grassley said. “I won’t speak for the Senate, but I know that they still have to work through that.”  The legislative […]

Several investigations launched into Anamosa attacks, Iowa prison security

By: - April 15, 2021

Internal and external investigations are underway at Anamosa State Penitentiary following the murders of two staff members, the Department of Corrections said Thursday. On March 23, two inmates at Anamosa attacked and fatally injured correctional officer Robert McFarland, 46, and registered nurse Lorena Schulte, 50. Department of Corrections spokesperson Cord Overton said Thursday several investigations […]

House passes police qualified immunity, enhanced penalties for rioting

By: - April 14, 2021

From increased penalties for rioting to qualified immunity for police officers, several of the session’s major policing proposals came together Wednesday in a bill approved by the Iowa House. Debate on the Senate File 342 lasted over two hours as Democrats spoke against the tougher criminal penalties, law enforcement officers shared their perspectives and lawmakers […]

Iowa Senate proposes $14 million less than House for prisons

By: - April 14, 2021

The Iowa Senate proposed a $6.2 million increase to the Department of Corrections following a deadly attack at Anamosa, an allocation $14 million shy of the House’s proposal of more than $20 million. Democrats and union representatives say neither figure is adequate to improve Iowa’s prisons. Sen. Julian Garrett, R-Indianola, led a Wednesday subcommittee on […]

Senate proposes $8.2 million increase for public universities

By: - April 13, 2021

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday approved a $8.2 million increase for Iowa’s public universities, a proposal in opposition to the House’s Regents funding freeze. The committee also advanced budget bills for agriculture and natural resources programs and Iowa courts. The education budget, which passed the committee by a party-line vote, would backfill a fiscal […]

Proposed Regents funding freeze advances in Iowa House

By: - April 12, 2021

House Republican lawmakers stood firm on their plan to freeze funding for Iowa’s public universities in fiscal year 2022. Rep. David Kerr, R-Morning Sun, led discussion of the education budget proposal in a House Appropriations committee meeting Monday. The proposal would increase funding to Iowa’s last-dollar scholarships and tuition grants, for community colleges and vocational […]

House bottle bill would allow some stores to opt out, but adds civil penalty for scofflaws

By: - April 12, 2021

Some stores would be able to opt out of the state’s bottle and can redemption program under a bill that advanced through a House Ways and Means subcommittee on Monday. House File 814 would allow stores that sell cans or bottles to refuse returns if there were another, nearby place that customers could drop off […]

jail, prison, detention, incarceration

Whitver: Senate Republicans will approve more money for Iowa prisons

By: - April 9, 2021

Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny, said Friday the Senate will “absolutely” include more money for Iowa prisons in its budget. Senate Republicans’ initial budget outline, released March 24, included an additional $4 million to Iowa’s Department of Corrections. The department came into the spotlight the day before when two inmates at the Anamosa State […]

House Republicans propose tuition freeze, no budget increase for public universities

By: - April 8, 2021

Iowa’s public universities would see a tuition freeze and no state allocation increase in 2022 under a proposed House education budget. Rep. David Kerr, R-Morning Sun, said COVID-19 relief funds had provided millions of additional dollars to the schools. That, plus a declining enrollment, led to the decision to keep funding levels the same in […]

Iowa Supreme Court says it will try to maintain nonpartisan redistricting process

By: - April 8, 2021

The Iowa Supreme Court announced Thursday that it will make sure Iowa’s redistricting follows, “to the extent possible,” the nonpartisan process laid out in law if the legislative branch cannot meet its September deadline. Every 10 years, the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency spends several months creating proposed new congressional and legislative districts. Then, lawmakers have […]

House passes bills on alcohol delivery, COVID-19 vaccine administration

By: - April 7, 2021

The Iowa House passed a bill Wednesday afternoon allowing pharmacists to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine and one facilitating third-party alcohol delivery. Pharmacist can give COVID-19 vaccines, other medical care The House voted 89-2 to add to Iowa Code that pharmacists may administer the COVID-19 vaccine to patients over 18. Pharmacists are already authorized to issue […]