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.

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.”

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.