Katarina Sostaric

Reporter

Katarina Sostaric is a Des Moines based 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.

oversight committee
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Iowa lawmakers are looking into whether companies known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are overcharging public entities for prescription drug benefits.

The House Oversight Committee heard testimony Wednesday from Ottumwa pharmacist Mark Frahm, who said he lost money on prescription drugs he provided to the Wapello County Jail.

Frahm said CVS Caremark charged the county about $5,000 for a month’s worth of drugs, but CVS Caremark only paid Frahm about $1,000 to provide those drugs.

iowa senate
John Pemble / IPR

The Iowa Senate adopted a new sexual harassment prevention policy Tuesday as part of its response to a high-profile $1.75 million harassment settlement against Senate Republicans.

mike cormack
Joyce Russell/IPR

Senate Democrats Thursday blocked Iowa Public Employment Relations Board Chairman Mike Cormack from returning to his position.

They voted down Gov. Kim Reynolds’ nominee for his role in administering a controversial collective bargaining law passed last year. Cormack’s board oversees the elections public-sector unions must now hold before each contract negotiation.

cathy glasson
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Workers on Democrat Cathy Glasson’s campaign for governor have become the first campaign staffers in Iowa to unionize. Glasson is a union leader, and making it easier for Iowans to join unions is one of her central campaign promises.

Organizing Director Michael Fasullo said Glasson campaign workers want to set an example.

supreme court
John Pemble/IPR file photo

The Iowa Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case that could determine whether the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) has the power to regulate cities’ traffic cameras.

Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Muscatine are challenging a 2015 IDOT order to remove some of their traffic cameras. The cities have been ordered to stop issuing tickets from the cameras in question while this case is being considered by the state’s highest court.

traffic camera
Adrian Pingstone / Wikipedia

The Iowa Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday in one of four cases involving traffic cameras.

Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Muscatine argue the Iowa Department of Transportation doesn’t have the authority to regulate how cities enforce their traffic laws.

In 2015, the IDOT ordered the three cities to remove some of their speed cameras. The cities sued, and in 2017, a district court upheld the IDOT order. The cities appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court.

corbett
Dean Borg / IPR

A Polk County judge ruled late Wednesday that Ron Corbett cannot run in the Republican primary for governor, leaving Gov. Kim Reynolds without a primary challenge.

Judge David May upheld the state elections panel’s decision to keep Corbett off the ballot because his petition was eight signatures short of the number required by law.

rogers speaks to school choice people
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Supporters of programs to expand state funding for various forms of non-public education rallied at the Iowa Capitol Wednesday along with hundreds of students.

They have been advocating for new laws that would give state money to students enrolling in private schools, among other initiatives. So far, their legislative priorities have not made it to the full House or Senate. 

Trish Wilger, executive director of Iowa Advocates for Choice in Education, says there is still time left in this legislative session to address those issues.

ron corbett
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

A Republican candidate’s appeal to get on the primary ballot for governor came before a Polk County judge for a hearing Tuesday.

The state elections panel last week threw out Ron Corbett’s bid for governor in a 2-1 decision because it found his petition was eight signatures short of the 4,005 needed to qualify. That leaves incumbent Gov. Kim Reynolds with no opponent in the June 5 primary election.

Corbett appealed the decision, and his attorneys told a judge Tuesday that some crossed-out signatures should have been counted by the elections panel.

regina sampieri
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Over a decade ago, Regina Sampieri’s mom called the police on her because she was afraid she would die. Sampieri was abusing painkillers and getting dangerously thin.

“I used to describe being on drugs as being on the merry-go-round from hell,” Sampieri says. “You’re up, down, up, down, around and around—and all you want to do is get off this crazy, awful merry-go-round—and you can’t. You’re stuck there.”

gavel
SalFalko / Flickr

A Johnson County judge has found Lamar Wilson was not justified in shooting three people on Iowa City’s crowded Pedestrian Mall last summer.

Wilson claimed he fired his gun in self-defense, and asked the judge to grant him immunity from criminal charges in an early test of Iowa’s “stand your ground” law, which was passed in 2017.

iowa capitol
John Pemble/IPR

A bill to allow cheaper health plans that don’t comply with the federal Affordable Care Act passed the Iowa Senate Tuesday and is heading to the governor’s desk.

Supporters say the new plans—offered through a Farm Bureau partnership with Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield—would be a cheaper health care option for people who can’t pay the increasing price of insurance under the ACA.

“This bill is about getting those folks insured,” says Sen. Dan Zumbach, R-Ryan. “It’s a great investment.”

supreme court
John Pemble/IPR file photo

The Iowa Supreme Court has made it possible for people who plead guilty to a crime to later claim innocence and challenge their conviction.

In a 4-3 opinion issued Friday, the court overturned its previous interpretation of Iowa law concerning post-conviction relief for those who plead guilty.

chelgren
John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Iowa Senate Republicans have reignited the “school choice” debate with a new proposal to use some public money for private school education.

The bill would give about $4,000 of state money for each student enrolling in a private school, which is 60 percent of the per-pupil funding for public school students. Current private and homeschool students would not be eligible for the “education savings grants."

Republicans on a Senate panel advanced the bill Thursday to the full Appropriations Committee.

ivanka
O. Kay Henderson / Radio Iowa

Ivanka Trump—an advisor to President Trump—visited a high-tech job training center in Waukee Monday.

Trump and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds toured the Waukee Innovation and Learning Center to hear from high school students about work they’re doing with local businesses.

The visit was part of a White House effort to promote its infrastructure plan, which includes workforce development initiatives.

sandy salmon
John Pemble / IPR

An Iowa House committee Thursday advanced what could become the strictest abortion law in the nation ahead of a legislative deadline.

It would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. That provision is attached to a bill that puts limits on the donation and use of fetal tissue.

Democratic lawmakers accused Republicans of being willing to risk women’s lives to make an ideological point.

subcommittee
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Iowa House Republicans are reviving a proposed ban on abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, by adding it as an amendment to another bill that would put limits on the donation and use of fetal tissue in Iowa.

At a subcommittee meeting convened Wednesday to consider the fetal tissue bill, conversation turned mostly to the amendment. It would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks gestation.

credit union rally
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Hundreds of credit union supporters rallied at the Iowa Capitol Wednesday to protest a proposed tax increase.

Senate Republicans passed a tax plan last week that would raise taxes on credit unions and lower taxes on banks, which is escalating the rivalry between the two types of financial institutions.

iowa judicial branch building
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

The Iowa Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case in which two women are suing a Pella church for failing to supervise a pastor who sexually exploited them.

The Bandstra family argues they should be allowed to sue the Board of Elders of the Covenant Reformed Church for negligent supervision and defamation.

Valerie and Anne Bandstra say statements from the church board accused them of adultery for their sexual contact with former pastor Patrick Edouard, who was convicted of four counts of sexual exploitation by a counselor in 2012.

todd nuccio
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

The head of Iowa’s court system warned lawmakers Wednesday of more court delays and possible courthouse closures if they cut more funding from the judicial branch.

Iowa courts got a $3 million budget cut last year. This year, lawmakers are considering cutting another $1.6 million for the fiscal year that ends in June.

“At current funding levels now, we’re not meeting the need,” said State Court Administrator Todd Nuccio.

bisignano
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

The Iowa Senate Tuesday passed a bill to ban traffic cameras in the state, with mostly Republicans voting in favor of the measure.

Democrats offered several amendments that would allow traffic cameras when justified by data, and allow speed cameras near schools and road construction zones.

Sen. Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale), the bill’s author, urged his Republican colleagues to vote down the amendments because he says they would change the intent of the bill. Zaun says traffic cameras violate the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

alice clapman
Michael Zamora / The Des Moines Register

The Iowa Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit over a state-mandated, three-day waiting period for women seeking abortions.

ballot
Jeff Gitchel / Flickr

A bipartisan bill that would restore voting rights to Iowa felons who have completed their criminal sentences moved forward Monday in the Iowa House.

Rep. Greg Heartsill, R-Chariton, co-sponsored the bill with Rep. Mary Wolfe, D-Clinton. They both agreed to move the bill to the full House Judiciary Committee.

senate judiciary committee
John Pemble / IPR

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill Monday that would require a supermajority of Iowa Supreme Court justices to declare a law unconstitutional.

Five of the Supreme Court’s seven justices would have to agree in order to declare an Iowa statute unconstitutional.

Sen. Julian Garrett, R-Indianola, said he feels the Iowa Supreme Court has “overstepped its bounds.”

fetal heartbeat subcommittee
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Updated Monday, Feb. 12, 2018:

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a fetal heartbeat abortion bill Monday, with Republicans voting in favor and Democrats voting against it. The bill can now be taken up for a vote by the full Iowa Senate.  

Original post from Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018:

A fetal heartbeat bill that would effectively ban almost all abortions advanced in the Iowa Senate Thursday after an hour of public testimony from people on both sides of the issue.

gavel
Wikimedia Commons

A jury Wednesday found Lamar Wilson guilty of voluntary manslaughter in a fatal shooting in downtown Iowa City’s Pedestrian Mall last summer. Wilson was accused of killing one man and injuring two others shortly before bar close on Aug. 27, 2017.

Prosecutors originally charged Wilson with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. The lesser offense of voluntary manslaughter means the jury found Wilson intentionally shot the man who died, but he did so because of “sudden, violent and irresistible passion resulting from serious provocation.”

dan dawson and brad zaun
John Pemble / IPR

A three-member Senate panel Wednesday unanimously agreed to move a bill forward that would legalize needle exchange programs for people who inject drugs.

Needle exchange programs have been used in other states to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and help get drug users into treatment. In Iowa, it’s still illegal to distribute needles for drug use.

doctors office
Jennifer Morrow / flickr

Funding for clinics that serve low-income and uninsured Iowans hangs in the balance as Congress considers another short-term spending bill to avoid a government shutdown Friday.

tedd gassman
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

A House panel has sent the education committee a bill that would help school districts with high transportation costs. Some rural districts spend twice as much as the state average on getting students to school.

syringe briefing
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Advocates for a bill to legalize syringe exchange programs in Iowa told lawmakers Wednesday it would help mitigate some effects of increasing injection drug use in the state.

Dr. Chris Buresh, a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Iowa, says dirty needles are spreading HIV, hepatitis C, and a bacterial infection that reaches the heart.

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