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.

House passes version of governor’s broadband proposal

By: - March 29, 2021

An amended version of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ broadband access proposal passed the House Monday afternoon by a unanimous vote. House File 848 would provide grants to extend broadband service into underserved parts of the state. “I think we can achieve our goal of connecting Iowans, especially those stranded out in the broadband deserts… with broadband […]

House inheritance tax phaseout differs from ‘aggressive’ Senate plan

By: - March 29, 2021

A panel of Iowa House lawmakers moved a bill Monday that would eliminate Iowa’s inheritance tax by 2024. House File 841 passed out of subcommittee Monday afternoon. The bill would gradually raise the size of an estate exempted from the tax: the $25,000 maximum would become $300,000 this year, then would increase to $600,000 and […]

Iowa schools received over $1.3 billion in COVID grants

By: - March 26, 2021

Iowa schools have received over $1.3 billion in COVID-19 grants, leaving just one question: How to spend it? “As superintendent, we always said, things would look a lot different around here if we had additional money. Well, guess what: now you have additional money,” Iowa State Board of Education member John Robbins said. “Now, what’s going […]

Bill would let some 5-year-olds enroll in preschool programs

By: - March 25, 2021

A bill moving through Iowa’s Senate would create a pilot program allowing some 5-year-olds to enroll in the state’s preschool programs. Under current law, only children who turn 4 on or before Sept. 15 may enroll in preschool during that year. House File 318 would allow parents to choose whether to enroll 5-year-olds in preschool. It […]

Rear view of students sitting with hands raised in classroom

House passes contentious charter school bill in late-night vote

By: - March 25, 2021

The Iowa House passed a bill early Thursday that would create new pathways to establish charter schools. House File 813 would allow school boards to establish new charter schools within their district. The bill would also allow groups unaffiliated with the school board to apply directly to the state board of education to create a […]

Felon voting constitutional amendment passes Iowa House

By: - March 24, 2021

The Iowa House voted unanimously Wednesday for a constitutional amendment that would allow people with felony records to vote in future elections. Immediately after approval of House Joint Resolution 11, the House passed a separate bill to limit who can receive automatic restoration of voting rights. Under House File 818, individuals who have completed their confinement, […]

Senate Republicans release budget targets for 2022 fiscal year

By: - March 24, 2021

Senate Republicans are planning for tax cuts and increased spending for education, health care and public safety in fiscal year 2022. Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny, released the GOP’s budget targets on Wednesday afternoon. The majority party proposes spending nearly $8 billion in the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. Gov. Kim Reynolds’ […]

Lawmakers to propose expansion of police immunity bill

By: - March 24, 2021

Police officers would have increased immunity against lawsuits under a bill advancing quickly through the Iowa House. Senate File 476 defines “qualified immunity,” a legal principle that would make officers immune to some lawsuits if they violate a law that is “not sufficiently clear.” In an early March debate on the legislation, proponents of the […]

Advocacy groups say homebound Iowans have been ‘forgotten’ by state vaccination system

By: - March 23, 2021

Phyllis Mussman of Cedar Rapids spent 2020 painting, writing poetry and staying home. Mussman, 84, has no car and has been largely homebound. She uses supplemental oxygen, making travel difficult and rendering her more vulnerable to respiratory illness brought on by the COVID-19 virus. “When the virus hit, I was scared and I didn’t go […]

Bill to remove handgun permit requirements passes Senate, headed to governor’s desk

By: - March 22, 2021

Two controversial firearms bills are headed to the governor’s desk after a Senate debate on Monday. The Senate passed bills to remove permit requirements for the purchase and carry of handguns and to limit the liability of firearm and ammunition manufacturers and sellers. “This bill fundamentally changes the relationship between our state government and our […]

Iowa House passes permitless carry bill after contentious debate

By: - March 18, 2021

Iowans would not need a permit to purchase or carry handguns under a bill passed by the House late Wednesday night. House File 756 removes the requirement for an individual to obtain a permit in order to purchase a handgun. Federal background checks would be required before each purchase from a licensed seller. However, private […]

One year after shutdown, Iowa restaurants, bars celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

By: - March 17, 2021

On the morning of St. Patrick’s Day 2020, Trevor Perez stood on a barstool in Magee’s Irish Pub & Eatery and asked everyone to leave. “I told all our customers that, due to COVID, we had to close at noon,” he said. “(I was) watching all those people saunter out the door and all our […]