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.

Transgender school bathroom restrictions advance in Iowa Senate

By: - February 10, 2021

Liz Lundberg’s voice shook as she considered the possibility that her young, transgender daughter might have to use the boys’ restroom in school. “Callie, my 5-year-old girl, in kindergarten, would face harassment, bullying and possibly assault if she used the boys’ bathroom,” Lundberg said. “But she would be breaking the law and could get in […]

Senate takes aim at distracted driving with new definition, increased penalties

By: - February 10, 2021

Iowans already can’t legally text and drive, but a bill moving through the Senate could also make some on-the-go phone calls illegal. Senate File 46 would expand Iowa law to forbid any use of an electronic communication device while driving that would take hands off the wheel. Beyond just texting, the proposed bill would include […]

Iowa Capitol Dome

Iowa Senate passes school funding bill calling for 2.2% increase

By: - February 9, 2021

The Iowa Senate passed a school funding proposal Tuesday evening that would increase supplemental state aid by 2.2% for the 2021-2022 school year. In addition to setting a 2.2% growth rate, Senate File 269 would provide additional funding for transportation equity between districts and for schools that complied with state COVID-19 reopening guidelines. “This bill […]

Lawmakers make bipartisan effort to expand insulin access

By: - February 9, 2021

Iowa lawmakers are advancing bills to improve access to prescription drugs, especially insulin. “It doesn’t matter if you’re Republican or Democrat,” said John Tagliareni, leader of an Iowa type 1 diabetes advocacy group. “If you’re diabetic, you need insulin.” Rep. Steven Bradley, R-Cascade, led the bill the first of the two bills, House File 262, […]

Lawmakers advance bills giving some Iowa schools extra state aid based on pandemic response

By: - February 8, 2021

Shelley Skuster held a photo of her four children, smiling and holding hands, in a Monday Zoom meeting with lawmakers.  “There is a time and place for disagreement,” the Des Moines mom said. “It should not come at the expense of my children and their education.” Skuster was one of several parents and education lobbyists […]

Des Moines Public Schools employees get first vaccine dose ahead of full-time mandate

By: - February 6, 2021

Special education associate Randy Davis said getting his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine was “about as easy as it could be.” Davis and his wife, Shelly Davis, both work in the Des Moines Public Schools system. They were on a waiting list for the district’s first vaccination clinic for teachers and staff, held Saturday […]

Governor’s ‘Back the Blue’ bill faces opposition from all sides

By: - February 6, 2021

A new policing bill faces opposition from all sides, from the Des Moines Black Liberation Movement to several law enforcement organizations. Reynolds’ proposal, Senate Study Bill 1140, was introduced in the Iowa Senate this week. The 28-page bill would forbid police officers from treating civilians differently based on personal characteristics, including race. It would also […]

Iowa lifts mask and social distancing requirements for all businesses

By: - February 5, 2021

Iowa’s limited mask mandate will end Sunday under Gov. Kim Reynolds’ newest public health disaster proclamation. Friday’s order replaces previous public health guidance which included the mandatory use of masks and social distancing. The new order does not mandate any guidelines for businesses or private gatherings, but rather suggests that Iowans take precautions to protect […]

Governor’s economic recovery advisers recommend preschool, broadband as legislative priorities

By: - February 4, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over yet, but a group of Iowa business leaders are planning ahead with post-pandemic economic recovery recommendations that include expanding state-funded preschool and preventing foreclosures. Gov. Kim Reynolds formed the Governor’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board in June to recommend post-pandemic policy. The board consists of 15 of Iowa’s most influential CEOs […]

Reynolds: Iowa vaccine rollout ‘not where we need to be’

By: - February 4, 2021

Gov. Kim Reynolds acknowledged Iowans’ frustration about vaccination distribution delays in a Thursday morning press conference.  “I understand how disappointing it is when you’re finally eligible to get the vaccine, and you can’t get through to schedule an appointment,” Reynolds said. “I’m asking Iowans to please keep in mind that, while vaccine supply is limited, […]

State universities lose more than $200 million during COVID-19 pandemic

By: - February 3, 2021

Iowa’s three public colleges lost more than $208 million due to the COVID-19 pandemic, university presidents told lawmakers Wednesday.  Presidents of the University of Northern Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Iowa met Wednesday with the House Education Appropriations subcommittee to make budget recommendations for fiscal year 2022. All three presidents reported significant […]

Free speech at Iowa colleges: Lawmakers review three 2020 incidents

By: - February 3, 2021

Free speech on college campuses is once again under the microscope of Iowa’s Republican lawmakers.  Administrators from Iowa’s three regent universities met with a committee of lawmakers Tuesday to discuss free speech failings on campus. In each case, a conservative student or group felt their free speech rights were limited by fellow students, professors or […]