Katarina Sostaric

State Government Reporter

Katarina Sostaric is the State Government Reporter for Iowa Public Radio.

She previously covered Eastern Iowa for IPR from Iowa City. Before coming to Iowa, Katarina was a reporter and host at a public radio station in Southeast Alaska, where her work also aired on Alaska’s statewide public radio network.

Katarina worked as a Morning Edition news anchor and general assignment reporter at KBIA in Columbia while she was a student at the Missouri School of Journalism. She has bachelor’s degrees in Convergence Journalism and International Studies from the University of Missouri.

Katarina’s favorite public radio program is Reveal.

Charlie Neibergall / AP Photo

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday local governments cannot implement mask requirements because they are not consistent with her public health disaster proclamation.

New confirmed coronavirus cases are increasing again as the state has been completely “reopened” for weeks and no government mask-wearing mandates are in effect.

Follow the latest Iowa news in our Daily Digest, a newsblog where you can catch up on all the headlines you'll hear about in our on-air newscasts.  

capitol protest arrests
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Des Moines police and state troopers arrested at least 17 Black Lives Matter protesters at the Iowa Capitol Wednesday, where violent physical altercations broke out between law enforcement and protesters. Both sides are accusing each other of causing the violence.

Alan Light/Flickr

A Johnson County District Court judge blocked Iowa’s new mandatory 24-hour abortion waiting period from taking effect Wednesday.

“We’re glad that patients can seek abortion care without the burden of state-mandated delay and extra appointment,” Erin Davison-Rippey, Iowa Executive Director of Planned Parenthood North Central States, said in a news release. “I want to be sure all Iowans know their access to safe, legal abortion remains the same.”

State Capitol Ceiling
John Pemble / IPR file

Iowa lawmakers finished the 2020 legislative session Sunday afternoon after a two-and-a-half month pause because of the coronavirus pandemic and an all-night debate to push through a budget and last-minute legislation related to abortion and voting rights. 

Read more to catch up on what high-profile legislation passed and what didn't. 

Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed these into law:

voting sign
John Pemble / IPR file

On the heels of the June 2 primary election that saw record turnout during the COVID-19 pandemic with expanded mail-in voting, Iowa lawmakers passed two bills that have the potential to limit or slow the absentee voting process in November as the coronavirus continues to spread.

The first puts constraints on the secretary of state’s authority to change election processes during an emergency.

Follow the latest Iowa news in our Daily Digest, a newsblog where you can catch up on all the headlines you'll hear about in our on-air newscasts.  

Demonstrators in Des Moines hold signs supporting the Black Lives Matter movement at a march on June 3, 2020.
John Pemble / IPR

Des Moines Black Lives Matter activists say law enforcement officers boxed them in at a protest Monday night, preventing them from leaving, and then arrested 18 protesters for failing to follow orders to disperse.

“We were planning to do a nonviolent march downtown, then come right back up to our cars and go home,” said BLM organizer Jaylen Cavil at another protest outside the Polk County Jail Wednesday.

BLM activists said police pushed them off of their planned protest route Monday night and into a dark residential neighborhood.

matthew bruce out of jail
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Prominent Black Lives Matter organizer Matthew Bruce has been charged with first degree criminal mischief after Des Moines police accused him of vandalizing a police car.

He turned himself in to police Wednesday morning, was booked into Polk County Jail, and got out on bail.

abortion rights supporters
Katarina Sostaric/IPR

Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Iowa filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to block a mandatory 24-hour abortion waiting period from taking effect.

In the final hours of the 2020 legislative session, the Republican-led legislature introduced and passed a bill requiring Iowans seeking an abortion to attend an extra appointment at least a day before the procedure.

iowa senate
John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

The Iowa Senate finished its work for the year Sunday afternoon without advancing a constitutional amendment to restore felon voting rights, setting the effort back at least two years.

Iowa is the only state that still permanently bans all Iowans with felony convictions from voting unless they appeal directly to the governor.

abortion rights supporters
John Pemble / IPR file

Iowa’s Republican-led legislature passed a bill mandating a 24-hour abortion waiting period on Saturday night and early Sunday morning, just a few hours after first introducing the proposal and as the House GOP failed to get enough support to pass an abortion-related constitutional amendment.

Follow the latest Iowa news in our Daily Digest, a liveblog where you can catch up on the headlines in five minutes and find more reporting from our news team about the stories you care about. 

kim reynolds signs bill into law
Natalie Krebs / IPR

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law Friday a bill addressing police misconduct that Iowa lawmakers unanimously passed on Thursday.

She signed the bill as racial justice activists and black lawmakers held their fists high, chanted “Black lives matter,” and held a Black Power poster in the air.

Reynolds said George Floyd being killed by a Minneapolis police officer and the protests that followed “led to some genuine soul-searching.”

ras smith
John Pemble / IPR

In a day that lawmakers called historic, the Iowa Legislature introduced and unanimously passed a set of police reforms Thursday as Black Lives Matter protesters looked on.

Last week, amid ongoing protests over the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, a group of Democratic state lawmakers proposed policies aimed at preventing police violence.

iowa capitol
John Pemble/IPR

Iowa House Republicans are proposing state funding levels for the next fiscal year that are about the same as this year as the state expects to bring in less revenue because of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

black lives matter at the iowa capitol
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Black Lives Matter protesters entered the Iowa Capitol Wednesday with a list of demands for state lawmakers and the governor.

They chanted “Where is Kim?” as they tried to get a meeting with the governor and “Let them vote,” in reference to the state’s lifetime disenfranchisement of all Iowans with felony convictions unless they appeal directly to the governor.

John Pemble / IPR

 The Iowa Legislature picked things back up on Wednesday last week after leaders put the session on hold in mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lawmakers are not meeting publicly Monday but the House and Senate moved bills forward in the House and Senate Friday night.

 

Andrew Batt/Iowa PBS

Follow the latest Iowa news in our Daily Digest, a liveblog where you can catch up on the headlines in five minutes and find more reporting from our news team about the stories you care about. 

In this file photo, a worker at a meat processing plant stands side by side other workers.
Courtesy of Oxfam America / file

Iowa businesses and health care providers would have special protections against coronavirus-related lawsuits under a bill House Republicans passed Friday night. Republican leaders took the rare step of setting a vote time of 11 p.m., leaving about 40 minutes for lawmakers to debate the policy.

voting sign
John Pemble/IPR file photo

The Iowa secretary of state would not be allowed to send applications for mail-in ballots to all registered voters under a bill passed Wednesday by Republicans in the Iowa Senate. 

Typically voters have to request a mail-in ballot application or find it online. For the June 2 primary election, Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate decided to send mail-in ballot request forms to all registered voters to promote voting by mail during the coronavirus pandemic. Iowa ended up setting a new record for primary election turnout in the state.

John Pemble / IPR file

The Iowa Legislature restarted its session this week after legislative leaders put it on hold in mid-March because of the coronavirus. The session also resumes during a week when daily protests following the death of George Floyd have been happening in several Iowa cities, including Des Moines.

ras smith
John Pemble / IPR

A group of Iowa Democratic lawmakers and black leaders proposed three policies Thursday to help prevent police violence as protests continue in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officer.

They want to ban most police chokeholds, make it illegal to rehire officers fired for misconduct or excessive force, and ensure the attorney general and county attorneys can investigate and prosecute police misconduct.

Rep. Ras Smith, D-Waterloo, said no one law can end racism or inequities.

iowa capitol
John Pemble / IPR

On their first day back at the Iowa Capitol after suspending the legislative session due to coronavirus, Republican lawmakers advanced policies related to felon voting rights, medical cannabis and local gun restrictions.

Iowa House Republicans passed a bill to exclude some Iowans with felony convictions from automatic voting rights restoration if a constitutional amendment to restore felon voting rights upon completion of sentence is ratified in the future.

matt windschitl
John Pemble / IPR

Lawmakers returned to the Iowa Capitol Wednesday to resume the legislative session as the coronavirus pandemic and nightly protests for racial justice continue.

With the coronavirus still spreading in Iowa, the legislative session looks different than it did when it left off in March.

Katarina Sostaric / Iowa Public Radio

Iowa lawmakers return Wednesday for the 2020 legislative session. Legislative leaders suspended the session numerous times to help slow the spread of coronavirus. They are returning despite the fact that the  Iowa Department of Public Health continues to report new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and deaths daily.

ako abdul samad
John Pemble / IPR

State and local officials held a press conference Monday to discuss the protests across Iowa in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody and against racial injustice and police brutality.

“We’re here to stand united as Iowans and as Americans, united in grief and anger, over the unsettling and criminal act of violence that robbed George Floyd of his rights and his life on a street in Minneapolis,” Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds said Monday.

Natalie Krebs / IPR

Large gatherings are allowed to resume starting this week. There's a primary on Tuesday, and the Iowa Legislature is returning to session Wednesday. As the state grapples with reopening, protests over the death of George Floyd have turned violent in Des Moines. 

Continue to follow the latest Iowa news here for the week of May 31-June 6.

John Pemble/IPR file

State revenue forecasters estimated Friday that Iowa will have $360 million dollars less for state services in the next fiscal year than their pre-coronavirus estimate.

Iowa’s legislative session is scheduled to resume June 3, and lawmakers will have less money for the state budget than what they were expecting in early March.

Wikimedia Commons

Evictions and foreclosures can resume Thursday in Iowa as Gov. Kim Reynolds allows the public health emergency moratorium on those actions to expire and the coronavirus continues to spread in the state.

In mid-March, Reynolds suspended most evictions and foreclosures to prevent people from having to leave their homes during the first part of the epidemic.

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