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.

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.

branstad
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.

tom miller
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds vetoed a measure Wednesday that would have limited the Democratic attorney general’s authority to join out-of-state lawsuits. Instead, the two officials had a private meeting and reached an agreement that will have a similar effect.

abortion law protest
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Abortion rights supporters rallied at the Iowa Capitol Tuesday as part of a nationwide protest against new abortion restrictions in other states.

kim reynolds
John Pemble / IPR

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds now controls a majority of the 17-member panel that nominates potential Iowa Supreme Court justices and appeals court judges. She signed controversial judicial selection changes into law Wednesday.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

State Auditor Rob Sand announced Thursday he will investigate prescription drug industry middlemen to find out if they are overcharging Iowa’s Medicaid program.

The Iowa House of Representatives in April unanimously approved a provision directing the Iowa Department of Human Services to look into pharmacy benefit managers’ billing practices in Iowa Medicaid. But the Senate rejected that proposal before lawmakers left the statehouse for the year.

iowa capitol
John Pemble / IPR

This post was updated Friday, May 3, 2019 at 5:35 p.m.   

Iowa lawmakers wrapped up the 2019 legislative session Saturday afternoon. It was the third consecutive year with Republicans controlling the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the governor's office.

Read more to catch up on what high-profile legislation passed, what didn't, and what is still waiting for Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds' signature. 

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