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.

Bill to remove Iowa’s gun permit requirements advances quickly in House, Senate

By: - March 2, 2021

A bill repealing Iowa’s gun permit requirements is advancing quickly through Iowa’s House and Senate ahead of a legislative deadline at the end of this week. Under the new bill, known as Senate Study Bill 1232 and House Study Bill 254, Iowans could purchase and carry a handgun without applying for permits through the sheriff’s […]

School choice, charter school bills advance in Iowa House

By: - March 2, 2021

Iowa House panels considered two parts of the governor’s education proposal Tuesday: a plan to establish a new charter school program and a student scholarship fund to allow some public school students to transfer to a private school. Republican lawmakers said the legislation would give more options to families, especially those in subpar public schools. […]

Lawmakers consider reducing penalties for marijuana possession

By: - March 2, 2021

Iowans arrested for possession of small amounts of marijuana would face less severe penalties under a bill proposed in the Iowa Senate. Senate Study Bill 1226 would make possession of under 5 grams of marijuana a simple misdemeanor for a first offense. That would mean a maximum punishment of up to 30 days in jail […]

Bill would remove mandate for permits to acquire, carry firearms

By: - March 1, 2021

Republican lawmakers advanced a bill Monday that would allow Iowans to purchase and carry firearms without a permit. Under current law, Iowans must obtain a permit to acquire a pistol or revolver, and then apply for a second permit to carry that weapon in public. House Study Bill 254 proposes that Iowans could purchase a […]

Redistricting commission considers three options for chairperson

By: - March 1, 2021

Three women are under consideration to lead Iowa’s redistricting process. The Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission is made up of four people — two nominated by Democrats and two nominated by Republicans — who must elect the fifth and final member to serve as the chairperson. On Monday, commission members discussed three possibilities but agreed to […]

Iowa lawmakers focus on free speech on campuses, social media platforms

By: - February 26, 2021

The Conservative Political Action Conference began Friday with a session called “Why the Left Hates the Bill of Rights … and We Love It.”  The four-day annual gathering of Republican politicians and activists started Thursday in Orlando, Florida. CPAC’s agenda included five events on free speech, including a Friday speech by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, […]

Lawmakers hope for early release of census data before fall redistricting deadline

By: - February 25, 2021

Legislative leaders said Thursday they aren’t sure yet how Iowa will resolve a redistricting problem in the fall. In past redistricting years, Iowa’s legislative branch has had several months to consider census data and draw new maps. This year, the U.S. Census Bureau originally planned to deliver data to states by the end of March, […]

A major election bill passed the Legislature. What does that mean for voters?

By: - February 24, 2021

A sweeping election bill that shrinks Iowa’s absentee voting window and introduces new penalties for election misconduct is headed to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ desk. The House passed the bill, Senate File 413, on Wednesday evening by a 57-37 vote. The Senate voted 30-18 to pass an identical bill on Tuesday. Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, led […]

Senate passes major election bill one week after its introduction

By: - February 23, 2021

The Iowa Senate passed a sweeping elections bill Tuesday that would shorten the time frame for absentee and early voting and create strict statewide standards for county auditors with felony penalties for misconduct. “The 2020 election saw record turnout in the state and across the country,” said Sen. Roby Smith, R-Davenport, who led a three-hour […]

Bill would impose tougher penalties on school officials who violated COVID-19 reopening orders

By: - February 23, 2021

School officials who violate state laws, including COVID-19 reopening orders, could be subject to stiffer penalties under a bill moving through the Senate. Senate Study Bill 1213 introduces new penalties for superintendents and school board members who violate Iowa’s educational laws. School board members may be removed for “knowingly or intentionally violating” Iowa law. Superintendents […]

Public weighs in on controversial election bill zooming through Iowa Legislature

By: - February 22, 2021

An elections bill advancing quickly through the Iowa Legislature faced accusations of voter suppression from some and accolades for election security from others. The bill, known separately as House File 590 and Senate File 413, proposes several changes to Iowa’s election process, including: Fewer days to request and return absentee ballots; Fewer days for in-person […]

Iowa redistricting plan still in limbo due to U.S. census delays

By: - February 22, 2021

Iowa’s redistricting plan faces a schedule snafu in 2021 and legislative leaders still “don’t have any idea” how it will be resolved, according to nonpartisan legislative staff. Iowa’s Constitution says the Legislature needs to finalize a legislative redistricting plan by Sept. 1. Then, Gov. Kim Reynolds has two weeks to review the plan and sign […]