Author

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 school ‘transparency’ and budget bills

By: - March 29, 2022

The House passed two major education bills late Tuesday: a bill to require more transparency for classroom plans and materials and the proposed education budget for fiscal year 2023. Education has been center stage through the 2022 legislative session, which began with controversy over Senate President Jake Chapman’s claims of a “sinister agenda” against children, […]

State panel: Finkenauer and Miller may remain on primary ballots

By: - March 29, 2022

Two statewide Democratic candidates and several Republican legislators will remain on primary election ballots after fending off challenges to their nomination paperwork on Tuesday. Incumbent Attorney General Tom Miller and U.S. Senate candidate Abby Finkenauer faced the State Objection Panel on Tuesday to defend signatures on their nomination petitions. Every political candidate needs a certain […]

Patient receives respiratory treatment in a hospital

House budget proposal includes ivermectin ‘right to try’ bill

By: - March 28, 2022

The House Health and Human Services budget proposal will incorporate several pieces of policy, including legislation to allow the use of ivermectin for terminally ill COVID-19 patients. The budget allocates $2.1 billion across the Department of Public Health, Department of Human Services, Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department on Aging – a $53.5 million […]

Proposed GOP budget for state universities is less than 20 years ago

By: - March 27, 2022

House lawmakers have proposed another year without a state funding increase for the Iowa Board of Regents, instead introducing a $12 million scholarship program for future teachers and students studying other high-demand professions. If the House plan passes as proposed, 2023 would be the third year in a row that the Regents universities would see […]

Sen. Chuck Grassley speaks at confirmation hearing for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

D.C. Dispatch: Grassley, Senate Judiciary Committee wrap up Supreme Court nominee hearings

By: - March 25, 2022

The biggest news in D.C. this week was the Senate hearing for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson — an event where Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley had a starring role as the leading Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Iowa’s delegation in D.C. also continued to push for additional aid to Ukraine and introduced bills […]

House budget bill would temporarily suspend eminent domain for carbon pipelines

By: - March 24, 2022

Carbon pipeline companies would not be allowed to claim eminent domain for nearly a year under a budget bill passed Thursday by the Iowa House. Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, added the legislation to the Administrative and Regulatory budget. The language would prohibit the Iowa Utilities Board from holding a hearing on eminent domain for carbon […]

House advances governor’s education transparency proposal, relaxes some requirements

By: - March 24, 2022

An amended version of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ school transparency proposal would require teachers to post all their lesson plans and educational material online for parents to review, but it relaxes the timeline to do so, allowing educators to upload some material on an ongoing basis. House File 2499 contains only the transparency and social studies […]

House unanimously passes elder abuse penalties

By: - March 24, 2022

The Iowa House unanimously passed a bill Wednesday to create new penalties for elder abuse. Senate File 522 sets criminal charges — ranging from misdemeanors to felonies — for abusing, assaulting or financially exploiting an elderly person, defined as someone age 60 or older. Rep. Dustin Hite, a lawyer, said he had seen many cases […]

Iowa House and Senate pass bill to shorten unemployment benefits by 10 weeks

By: - March 23, 2022

Iowa workers would have 10 fewer weeks of unemployment benefits under a bill passed Wednesday by the Iowa House and Senate. House File 2355 is an amended version of a proposal by Gov. Kim Reynolds. It shortens the maximum amount of unemployment to 16 weeks, down from 26 weeks under current law. The bill also […]

Senate revives outdoor recreation funding proposal

By: - March 23, 2022

A proposal to fund water conservation projects is back in the Iowa Senate, resurrected after dying in tax bill negotiations. Senate Study Bill 3157 would change Iowa’s local-option sales tax to a statewide sales tax. That switch would channel a fraction of a cent from each purchase to fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation […]

Proposal would require two-thirds majority to pass tax increases in Iowa

By: - March 22, 2022

Weeks after Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a major tax cut into law, Iowa lawmakers have proposed a constitutional amendment to make it more difficult to undo those changes. “Any changes we’ve made here in the last few years, it’s all for naught if a simple majority comes in down the road to raise taxes back […]

House bottle bill proposal includes enforcement, new fees and opt-out for some retailers

By: - March 22, 2022

Retailers that sell prepared food or fresh produce could refuse can and bottle returns under a proposal advanced by a bipartisan group of House lawmakers. House File 2524 would allow more retailers to opt out of the program. Stores could decline container returns if they sell fresh produce or prepared foods; if they sell fewer […]