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.

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.”

kim reynolds
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

One day after she promoted wind energy at the Iowa State Fair, Gov. Kim Reynolds again declined to say whether she thinks wind turbines cause health issues.

There is no scientific consensus that wind turbines have direct negative health effects, but residents living near existing or proposed wind farms have raised concerns.

elizabeth warren
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Sixteen Democrats running for president took questions about gun policies at a forum in Des Moines Saturday that was organized a few days earlier in response to recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

Hundreds of gun control activists from across the country attended the forum. Gunshot survivors and family members of victims told their stories to candidates and asked them how they would reduce gun violence.

andrew yang
John Pemble / IPR

Democrat Andrew Yang says his plan to give each American citizen $1,000 each month could help Iowans repeatedly affected by flooding to relocate.

Speaking at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair Friday, the entrepreneur and presidential candidate said his plan would stimulate the economy and help create new jobs as more are lost to technological advancements.

julian castro
John Pemble / IPR

Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro told state fairgoers in Des Moines Friday Congress must act in the wake of mass shootings in Texas and Ohio. Before his speech, Castro released a policy plan to “disarm hate” by combating white supremacist violence and enacting gun control measures.

An audience member asked the former San Antonio mayor and Obama cabinet official why he’s not in El Paso, following a mass shooting there last weekend.

John Pemble

This program originally aired on 8-15-18.


Corn dogs, baby ducks, and a butter cow to boot!


The Iowa State Fair is a time-honored tradition for many Iowans, and has gained a reputation for being one of the largest fairs in the nation.


Do you remember your first fair? 

jerry foxhoven
Joyce Russell/IPR

Following news that former Department of Human Services director Jerry Foxhoven reportedly objected to a salary-sharing agreement with the governor’s office, Democrats in the Iowa House are continuing their call for an oversight hearing about his resignation. Republican officials have not raised concerns about these recent developments.

jerry foxhoven
Clay Masters / IPR file

Gov. Kim Reynolds’s office said former Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven’s emails to staff about the late rapper Tupac Shakur were not a factor in Reynolds asking for Foxhoven’s resignation last month.

Des Moines Register pool photo

A Polk County jury decided Monday former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad discriminated against a gay state official and awarded the former employee $1.5 million.

representative john forbes
Joyce Russell/IPR file

Republican leaders in the Iowa Legislature Thursday denied Democrats’ request to form a special committee to make recommendations for the state’s medical marijuana program.

marijuana plants
Katarina Sostaric / IPR file

This story was originally published May 29, 2019. 

Democratic lawmakers are calling on the Republican-controlled Iowa Legislature to return to the Statehouse to overturn the governor’s veto of a bill that would have expanded the state’s medical marijuana program.

iowa capitol
John Pemble/IPR

The state of Iowa has agreed to pay an additional $386 million in state and federal dollars to the two private insurance companies that manage the state’s Medicaid program for low-income and disabled residents.

doctors office
Jennifer Morrow / flickr

Five registered nurses at state-owned facilities have filed a class-action lawsuit against the state of Iowa challenging what they allege is the state’s failure to pay them proper overtime wages.

kim reynolds
Grant Gerlock / IPR

A new Iowa law creating the framework for a statewide children’s mental health system went into effect July 1.  The system will still be in the planning stages for several months, so most families won't have access to new services yet.  

First, a new state board is being put together to oversee the children's system, and the mental health regions have to reconfigure their boards.

police car
Tony Webster / Wikimedia Commons

The Iowa Supreme Court upheld police officers’ use of pretext traffic stops in a 4-3 opinion issued Friday. The ruling allows police to continue using minor infractions to pull people over when they really have a different reason to make the stop.

rob sand
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

State Auditor Rob Sand, a Democrat, said Wednesday the private insurance companies managing Iowa’s Medicaid program violated their contracts with the state in their treatment of two paralyzed patients.

polk county court
Stephen Matthew Milligan / Wikimedia Commons

A trial began Monday focused on the question of whether Iowa’s voter ID law unconstitutionally infringes upon Iowans exercising their right to vote.

kim reynolds
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Gov. Kim Reynolds said Wednesday there were “a lot of factors” that went into her decision to pressure a health agency director to resign two years after she appointed him.

jerry foxhoven
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

This post was updated Tuesday, June 18, at 11:47 a.m. 

Iowa Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven resigned Monday at the request of Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds. 

"Gov. Reynolds asked Foxhoven to resign because she wanted to go in a new direction at the Department of Human Services," governor's spokesman Pat Garrett said Tuesday. "She has spent the first part of this year assembling a new team, from top to bottom, to carry out her vision. More changes will be announced in the coming days and weeks ahead." 

iowa house of representatives
John Pemble/IPR

Rep. Lisa Heddens, D-Ames, is leaving the Iowa Legislature during her ninth term to serve on the Story County Board of Supervisors.

Heddens said she has been interested in the position for “quite some time,” and said several people encouraged her to apply for the supervisor vacancy.

newton prison painting
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

On a rainy May morning, Joshua Goemaat was painting the ceiling of a small building just down a hill from the Newton Correctional Release Center, where he’s incarcerated. The building will serve as classroom and storage space where Goemaat will work as one of the first Iowa inmates to build houses for families across the state.

joe biden
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigned in Iowa Tuesday to run against President Trump, who was also in the state for a fundraiser.

At his first campaign stop of the day in Ottumwa, Biden called President Trump an “existential threat” to America and the country’s core values. He criticized Trump for policies he said are hurting farmers.

John Pemble /IPR

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday she is concerned about President Trump’s threat to impose new tariffs on all imports from Mexico and will discuss that when he visits Iowa next week.

Trump said all goods coming into the United States from Mexico will be hit with new tariffs next week unless Mexico stops the flow of migrants crossing the southern border.

polk county court
Stephen Matthew Milligan / Wikimedia Commons

Updated Wednesday, May 29, 4:39 p.m.

A Polk County judge issued an order Wednesday temporarily blocking a new Iowa law from taking effect that bans Planned Parenthood from participating in two federally-funded sex education programs.

governor reynolds
John Pemble/IPR file

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill into law Thursday that makes some changes to how cities and counties raise property taxes.