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 controversial bill to ban ‘divisive concepts’ from school training, curriculum

By: - March 16, 2021

The House passed two pieces of legislation Monday on free speech training in Iowa’s schools, including a controversial bill that would forbid certain “divisive concepts” from diversity training and curriculum. The first bill, House File 744, requires the Board of Regents to develop free speech training for faculty members and any individuals with student oversight. […]

House passes bill to allow landlords to reject applicants with housing vouchers

By: - March 15, 2021

Iowa cities and counties could not prohibit landlords from discriminating against individuals who use housing vouchers under a bill passed by the House on Monday. The bill, Senate File 252, passed the House by a 56-38 vote. The bill would prohibit cities and counties from creating ordinances that would interfere with a landlord’s right to […]

Back-to-school tax holiday could include emergency supplies under Senate proposal

By: - March 15, 2021

Shirts, shoes, pants. Duct tape, smoke detectors, portable generators. Back-to-school shopping lists could look a little different under a bill moving through the Iowa Senate. Senate Study Bill 1240 would add emergency preparedness items to Iowa’s sales tax holiday. The event takes place on the first Friday and Saturday in August, allowing Iowans to purchase […]

Police funding bill has uncertain future after Senate passage

By: - March 11, 2021

House leaders were hesitant Thursday about a Senate policing bill that would deny state funds to any local governments that decreased their police budgets. The Senate passed Senate File 479 on Wednesday, aimed at discouraging communities from answering a call by some racial justice advocates to “defund the police.” The bill defines four specific situations […]

Iowa Senate passes two bills to increase riot penalties and prevent police defunding

By: - March 10, 2021

The Iowa Senate passed two policing bills Wednesday that would introduce new penalties for riot-related crimes, prevent Iowa cities and counties from decreasing police budgets and give immunity to drivers who accidentally hit protesters in the street. The bills represented some parts of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ “Back the Blue Act.” Lawmakers split the governor’s proposal […]

Iowa Senate passes free-speech bill that restricts ‘divisive concepts’ in school training

By: - March 8, 2021

The Iowa Senate passed a bill Monday that would require First Amendment training for public colleges. The bill also defines certain “divisive” concepts that may not be taught in schools, centered around the idea that no individual is inherently racist or sexist. Sen. Amy Sinclair, R-Allerton, led floor debate on Senate File 478. She said […]

Governor signs election bill into law, shortening absentee voting period

By: - March 8, 2021

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law a controversial elections bill that will shorten the absentee voting period and introduce new penalties for election officer misconduct. “It’s our duty and responsibility to protect the integrity of every election,” Reynolds said in a statement Monday. “This legislation strengthens uniformity by providing Iowa’s election officials with consistent parameters […]

At one-year mark of COVID-19 in Iowa, counselors say emotional impact will linger beyond vaccine rollout

By: - March 8, 2021

Three hundred sixty-five days. Five thousand, five hundred and sixty deaths.  Monday marked the one-year anniversary of the first known cases of COVID-19 in Iowa.  “In some ways, I can hardly believe it’s already been a year. In others, it seems like forever since almost anything has felt normal,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said on March […]

Lawmakers fast-track bills ahead of funnel deadline

By: - March 4, 2021

Lawmakers moved more than 50 bills through committee on Thursday ahead of a major legislative deadline. The legislation covers a wide range of issues, from policing to social media censorship and diversity trainings. Even as lawmakers were rushing to meet the deadline, legislative leaders were offering partisan critiques of their work so far this year. […]

Policing bill, without a racial-profiling ban, moves through Iowa Senate

By: - March 3, 2021

A version of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ controversial “Back the Blue” bill is moving through the Senate, but the ban on racial profiling that was part of the initial proposal is now gone. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday evening to advance Senate File 497, marking it safe ahead of Friday’s legislative deadline. The bill would […]

Iowa House passes bipartisan COVID-19 tax relief bill

By: - March 3, 2021

The Iowa House unanimously passed a bill Wednesday to exclude some COVID-19 grants from taxable income. The initial bill, Senate File 364, would allow businesses to exclude any Paycheck Protection Program loans from their net income. The House expanded the proposal Wednesday to also include federal pandemic unemployment assistance and state COVID-19 grants from the […]

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Advocates: School choice bill could shut out LGBTQ students

By: - March 3, 2021

Governor Kim Reynolds’ school choice bill would provide funding for some public school students to attend private schools, but critics have questioned whether the proposal would be equitable for LGBTQ students. The bill, Senate File 159, passed the Senate in full in January. Now, pieces of the legislation are advancing separately in the House just […]