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.

jeff edler
John Pemble / IPR

Cities and counties would not be allowed to ban housing voucher discrimination under a bill that advanced in an Iowa Senate committee Thursday.

Federal housing assistance in the form of a voucher allows low-income families to choose a place to live. The federal government covers part of the cost of rent. A local public housing agency administers the funding and enters into a contract with the landlord in addition to the tenant’s lease. The landlord is responsible for maintaining certain health and safety standards.

Sen. Jeff Edler, R-State Center, proposed the bill.

iowa capitol
John Pemble / IPR file

A House panel tabled a bill Wednesday that would ban Iowa health care providers from trying to change a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

House State Government Committee Chair Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, said people on both sides of the issue raised too many concerns about his proposal to advance it ahead of this week’s legislative deadline. 

mobile home press conference
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

A key Republican lawmaker said Wednesday he will not advance a bipartisan bill to strengthen protections for mobile home residents ahead of a legislative deadline.

The proposal from Republicans and Democrats came in response to out-of-state companies buying some Iowa mobile home parks and significantly raising rent. It would allow rent increases tied to inflation, with exceptions. 

house committee
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Republicans on an Iowa Senate panel advanced a bill Tuesday that would add requirements around providing an ultrasound before an abortion, and that requires a three-day waiting period between the ultrasound and the abortion.

There is already a 72-hour waiting period under Iowa law, but the Iowa Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional in 2018 and blocked it from taking effect.

Kate Payne/IPR file

A bipartisan proposal to give mobile home residents more rights and protections advanced in the Iowa House Monday.

Restricting rent increases, mandating 180 days’ notice before raising rent, and requiring good cause to evict tenants are just some of the provisions in the lengthy bill. Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate crafted it together after an out-of-state company bought some Iowa mobile home parks in 2019 and started phasing in steep rent increases.

John Pemble / IPR

On this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer and IPR statehouse reporter Katarina Sostaric speak with lawmakers from both parties about a proposed amendment to the Iowa Constitution that could open the door to more abortion restrictions within the state.

subcommittee
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Republican lawmakers on a House panel advanced a bill Thursday that would require abortion providers to inform patients that it “may be possible to reverse” a medication abortion, though there isn’t enough reliable scientific evidence to support the practice, and some evidence suggests it could cause harm.

John Pemble/IPR

The Iowa Senate passed a resolution Thursday that would amend the state constitution to say it does not protect abortion rights.

Sen. Jim Carlin, R-Sioux City, listens to testimony at a subcommittee considering a constitutional amendment raising the threshold for passing an income tax increase.
John Pemble / IPR

Law enforcement agencies would be required to collect information on offenses committed by immigrants who aren’t U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents under a bill advanced Tuesday in the Iowa Senate. 

kim reynolds
John Pemble / IPR file

This story was updated at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12. 

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Wednesday she can't comment on a lawsuit brought by former staff of the troubled state-run Glenwood Resource Center for severely disabled residents.

MedPharm's Aliviar branded medical cannabis products were on display at the MedPharm manufacturing facility in Des Moines
Katarina Sostaric / IPR file

A bill that advanced Tuesday in the Iowa House of Representatives would expand some parts of Iowa’s medical cannabis program, but disagreement remains about the amount of THC, the chemical that can make cannabis users high, patients should be allowed to purchase.

dawson and bisignano
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Republicans on an Iowa Senate panel advanced a bill Monday to exclude some Iowans with felony convictions from automatic voting rights restoration if a proposed constitutional amendment to expand felon voting rights passes.

John Pemble / IPR File

On this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer and IPR statehouse reporter Katarina Sostaric speak with lawmakers from both parties about the ongoing debate within the Iowa house and senate regarding how much of the state budget will go toward funding k-12 education. 

Katie Peikes / IPR File

The Iowa Senate unanimously approved an additional $20 million for flood relief Thursday. If passed by the House of Representatives and signed into law, it would bring the total direct state money for flood recovery projects stemming from the 2019 floods to $35 million.

Eelke / Flickr https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

The Iowa Department of Public Health says it has identified two people in the state who are undergoing evaluation and testing for the coronavirus. 

State medical director Caitlin Pedati said in a press conference on Facebook Live Wednesday afternoon that the two people are in isolation and are being tested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

kayla lyon
John Pemble / IPR file

The new director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources appears to be on track to be confirmed to the post after a hearing in an Iowa Senate committee Tuesday.

Director Kayla Lyon, appointed by Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds last summer, described her career background to the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee.

She worked for the dairy industry, and lobbied for farmers and agribusiness, and worked for former Gov. Terry Branstad and Reynolds, and then worked as the lobbyist for Reynolds’ office.

John Pemble / IPR

The head of the Iowa Democratic Party says the party is manually verifying the results of Monday night’s first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses. 

John Pemble / IPR file

The Iowa Statehouse will be empty Monday so lawmakers can caucus tonight in their home districts. But they’ll be back Tuesday to continue debating K-12 public school funding. Iowa Public Radio's Clay Masters talks with IPR state government reporter Katarina Sostaric about the week ahead at the legislature.

travis fugere
Natalie Krebs / IPR

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office announced Friday it has cleared a backlog of felon voting rights restoration applications, days before Iowa’s first in the nation caucuses.

Iowa is the only state that still bans all felons from voting forever unless they apply directly to the governor for rights restoration. At least 50,000 Iowans are estimated to be barred from voting because of a past felony conviction.

iowa capitol
John Pemble / IPR file

A group of nine Republican lawmakers introduced a bill Wednesday morning that would remove gender identity from the Iowa Civil Rights Act, a move opponents said would eliminate all anti-discrimination protections for transgender Iowans.

But on Wednesday night, a Republican committee chair tweeted that he will not allow the bill to advance.

alamosbasement/flickr

Iowa lawmakers have started debating K-12 public school funding, with Republican leaders in the House and Senate proposing plans that differ by nearly $20 million.

Senate Republicans want to add $76 million in base public school funding, about the same increase as last year.

Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Gov. Kim Reynolds appointed Dana Oxley to the Iowa Supreme Court Tuesday.

Oxley is an attorney with Shuttleworth & Ingersoll in Cedar Rapids, where she is focused on civil appellate work, and most of her clients are small businesses. Before that, she clerked for a federal judge on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Oxley said she looks forward to serving the people of Iowa.

mike randol
John Pemble / IPR File

Iowa lawmakers questioned Medicaid officials Tuesday about the finances and performance of the state’s health insurance system for low-income and disabled Iowans.

Medicaid issues have been controversial at the Iowa Capitol since the state hired private insurance companies in 2016 to manage the government-funded system.

road
Madeleine McCormick/IPR

An Iowa Senate panel advanced a proposal Monday to ban almost all cell phone use while driving.

The bill would make it illegal to use a cell phone while driving except in hands-free mode, or to push a single button to accept or end a call.

John Pemble / IPR file photo

Republican state senators are advancing an abortion-related constitutional amendment early in Iowa’s legislative session. Iowa Public Radio Morning Edition host Clay Masters talks with state government reporter Katarina Sostaric about the proposed amendment and other issues facing lawmakers in the week ahead in the legislature.

gun subcommittee
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Lawmakers advanced proposals Thursday to allow Iowans to have loaded firearms on work and school property, which would override some employers’ no-firearm policies.

Sen. Jason Schultz, R-Schleswig, said it’s difficult for Iowans to carry the guns they have permits for when restrictions are in place at work and their children’s schools.

brad zaun
John Pemble / IPR

A Republican state lawmaker is proposing a bill that would retain a popular provision of the Affordable Care Act in Iowa if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the whole federal health care law.

vaping subcommittee
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Iowa lawmakers advanced a proposal Tuesday to ban vaping in restaurants, bars, and other public places where smoking is prohibited.

Amy McCoy is a lobbyist for the Iowa Department of Public Health, which proposed adding vaping to the state’s Smokefree Air Act.

“We’re still very concerned about what this means for the individuals who are exposed to the vapors,” McCoy said. “We would like to see more science happen on that before we see children and elderly and others who are immune compromised exposed. So this was put forward in an effort to protect public health.”

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Katarina Sostaric / IPR

The state of Iowa is forming a new public safety bureau focused on preventing school violence, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Tuesday, but the plan depends on lawmakers allocating $2 million to fund it.

“News headlines about school shootings and threats at unsuspecting communities across America are becoming all too common,” Reynolds said. “And although those headlines don’t often involve schools in Iowa, we can’t wait until they do to act.”

jake chapman
John Pemble/IPR

This post was updated Thursday, Jan. 23 at 11:38 a.m. 

The Iowa Constitution would be amended to say it does not protect abortion rights under a proposal advanced Thursday by Republicans on the Senate State Government Committee. 

Democrats voted against the proposal. It is now up to Republican leaders to decide if the measure will get a vote by the full Iowa Senate. 

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