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.

mark cady
John Pemble/IPR

Advocates and politicians of all stripes are lamenting the death of Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady. He died Friday night of a heart attack at the age of 66, according to a statement from the judicial branch.

“The state lost a great man, husband, father, grandfather and jurist,” Cady’s family wrote in a statement.

marijuana plants
Katarina Sostaric / IPR file

Two Democratic lawmakers said Friday Iowa’s medical cannabis program could be at risk if the state doesn’t expand it as Illinois prepares to legalize recreational marijuana in 2020.

Earlier this year, Iowa Republicans and Democrats voted to pass a bill that would allow dispensaries to sell more potent medical cannabis products. It also would’ve expanded the number of health care providers who are eligible to certify medical conditions for Iowans applying for medical cannabis cards.

voting sign
John Pemble / IPR file

Secretary of State Paul Pate says his office is continuing to work on ways to fix and prevent errors in Iowa’s list of people who are barred from voting because they have been convicted of felonies.

Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Gov. Kim Reynolds Tuesday highlighted National Apprenticeship Week at a farm equipment dealer in Nevada that got state support to help develop a training program for mechanics.

voter ID card
Iowa Secretary of State

Iowa voters will go to the polls Tuesday for local and school elections, marking the first statewide election for which Iowa’s new voter ID law is in full effect.

marijuana plants
Katarina Sostaric / IPR file

A state board voted Friday to recommend allowing patients with post-traumatic stress disorder to qualify for Iowa’s medical cannabis program, a recommendation that now goes to the Iowa Board of Medicine for final consideration.

Four board members, who are also medical professionals, approved this after stating there is not enough scientific evidence supporting use of cannabis to treat PTSD.

Board member Dr. Lonny Miller said it will be several years before strong scientific conclusions can be drawn about cannabis as a medical treatment.

Katarina Sostaric / IPR

As the Democrats running for president travel through Iowa ahead of the first-in-the-nation caucuses, they’re talking about what they would do to reduce gun violence in the U.S.

In early August, campaign trail conversations about gun control intensified. Back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton reignited calls for lawmakers to act.

reynolds with NAACP leaders
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Tuesday she is forming a committee tasked with recommending policies aimed at reducing the rate of ex-offenders returning to prison and removing bias from Iowa’s criminal justice system.

State Capitol Ceiling
John Pemble / IPR file

State revenue forecasters urged caution Monday as they estimated Iowa revenue growth to be much slower this budget year than in the previous one.

“While everything looks pretty good, there are still some warning signs out there,” said Department of Management Director David Roederer.

polk county court
Stephen Matthew Milligan / Wikimedia Commons

The process for selecting Iowa Supreme Court justices and appeals court judges was discussed in Polk County District Court again Friday as part of the second lawsuit over changes Republican lawmakers made earlier this year.

scott ourth
John Pemble / IPR

State Rep. Scott Ourth has been charged with drunken driving after a weekend arrest in northwest Iowa.

Ourth is a Democrat from Ackworth, representing part of Warren County south of Des Moines. According to a complaint filed in Cherokee County, police on Saturday night saw a truck with its headlights off.

house republican leaders
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

House Republicans voted Monday to elect Rep. Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford, to lead the Iowa House of Representatives.

The vote came a week after House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake, announced she is stepping down from the top role in the House and won’t seek re-election in 2020.

Grassley is a 36-year-old farmer and grandson of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley. He said House Republicans are unified after his election.

Katie Peikes / IPR

Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst has joined her colleague, Sen. Chuck Grassley in defending the whistleblower whose complaint has sparked the House impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. 

Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says she is still waiting to see a biofuel policy agreement from the Trump administration.

voting sign
John Pemble / IPR file

This post was updated Tuesday, 10/1/19 at 4:14 p.m.

A Polk County judge has upheld a state law requiring Iowa voters to show an ID at the polls, but struck down other parts of the law as unconstitutional.

The Iowa Legislature, led by Republicans, made significant changes to state voting laws in 2017. The League of United Latin American Citizens, a Latino civil rights group, challenged the laws in court along with an Iowa State University student.

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, a Republican, was named in the lawsuit.

Linda Upmeyer
John Pemble / IPR file

The speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives announced Monday she will step down from the top position in the chamber and not seek re-election in 2020.

troy price
Clay Masters/IPR file

The Democratic National Committee gave conditional approval Friday to the Iowa Democratic Party’s plan to hold satellite caucuses in addition to traditional precinct caucuses on Feb. 3, 2020.

Clay Masters / IPR file

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Wednesday she will take President Donald Trump and his administration “at their word” after he verbally agreed to a fix for his decision to exempt 31 refineries from blending ethanol into gasoline.

But Reynolds said she has not talked to Trump since their meeting in Washington D.C. last week. She was asked if the president would announce an agreement in Iowa.

Katarina Sostaric / IPR

This school year, some college students are getting help from a new state-funded scholarship that was proposed by Gov. Kim Reynolds as a way to prepare Iowans to fill high-demand jobs. But an error in the law means many 19-year-olds can’t qualify for this form of financial assistance, known as the Last Dollar Scholarship.

paul pate
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate announced Tuesday he is making a new push to register more high school students to vote.

And more high school students are eligible to participate now that a new law allows 17-year-olds to register to vote. They can also participate in primaries and caucuses if they will turn 18 in time for the November general election.

troy price
Clay Masters/IPR file

Iowa Democrats will not have phone-based virtual caucuses in 2020 after national Democratic officials voted Friday to reject the state party’s plan for absentee caucus participation.

kelly garcia
Courtesy of Gov. Kim Reynolds' office

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Thursday she appointed Kelly Kennedy Garcia to be the new Iowa Department of Human Services director, two and a half months after Reynolds abruptly ousted the previous director.

Clay Masters/IPR file

The Iowa Democratic Party is still waiting for national party officials to approve its plan for launching virtual caucuses in late January 2020, a new option for voters who can’t, or don’t want to, caucus in person.

kim reynolds
John Pemble / IPR file

Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday she has asked President Trump and administration officials to help the ethanol industry after Trump reportedly approved exemptions that lowered demand for the corn-based biofuel.

stephan bayens
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

The Iowa Department of Public Safety failed to conduct nationwide background checks before issuing more than 5,800 licenses to private investigators, security guards and bail enforcement officers, according to an investigation released by the state auditor’s office Thursday.

bernie sanders
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Fifteen Democrats running for president talked up their support for organized labor at an annual meeting of union leaders near Des Moines Wednesday.

John Pemble/IPR file photo

Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday she will “take a look at” multiple ways to prevent gun violence, adding that she has already done a lot toward that goal. But Reynolds did not take a position on any specific gun-related laws.

Wikimedia Commons

Top Iowa officials Monday approved another large payment to a private law firm defending former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad in a discrimination case that’s been going on for seven years.

luana stoltenberg
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Last year, Iowa lawmakers passed what was then considered the nation’s most restrictive abortion law. The “fetal heartbeat” law would have banned most abortions as early as six weeks of pregnancy. But Iowa courts stepped in, blocking that law and ensuring future attempts to restrict abortion rights would fail in the state.

Now, abortion opponents in Iowa are trying to rally support for what they see as their only path to restricting or banning abortion.

joni ernst
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Competing shouts of disapproval and cheers of support filled the auditorium of a Johnston elementary school early Saturday morning as Republican Sen. Joni Ernst answered questions about gun laws.

Several audience members pressed Ernst on what she’ll do to reduce gun violence. She said guns should be kept out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.

“A lot of the incidents that we see do come back to mental illness,” Ernst said.

Several people in the audience shouted over her, “No,” and “Do something.”