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.

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.

tom greene
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

A three-member Senate panel is delaying a decision on a bill that would require all medical providers to electronically submit drug prescriptions to pharmacies.

Sen. Tom Greene, (R-Burlington), who worked as a pharmacist, says the bill would help curb the abuse of opioids and other controlled substances.

“I’ve so blatantly had people hand me a handwritten prescription the doctor wrote for 10 sleeping pills, and they changed the one to a four,” Greene says. “Easy change.”

supplies in parking lot
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

On a below-freezing night in Cedar Rapids, three med school students meet in a parking lot and start unloading boxes from a crammed car trunk.

They sort through condoms, housing paperwork, fentanyl test strips, and vials filled with a drug that reverses opioid overdoses. There are booklets about safe injection practices, test kits for HIV and hepatitis C, and needles, syringes and cookers.

The first person to stop by is Dennis Brown, a former drug user who tries to help people who are still struggling with addiction.

polk county court
Stephen Matthew Milligan / Wikimedia Commons

The man accused of shooting three people in downtown Iowa City in August is going to trial Monday. Lamar Wilson is charged with the murder of one man and the attempted murder of two others in Iowa City’s Pedestrian Mall, which was crowded with bar patrons at the time of the shooting.

The high-profile case will also be the state’s first trial involving a self-defense claim under Iowa’s new "stand your ground" law.

university of iowa
Vladimir Kulikov / Wikimedia Commons

Five faith-based student organizations have filed a brief in support of a Christian group that is suing the University of Iowa for religious discrimination.

Business Leaders in Christ (BLinC) filed a lawsuit in federal court last month claiming UI penalized the group because of its religious beliefs concerning human sexuality. The university ended BLinC’s status as a registered student organization after it allegedly denied a leadership position to a gay student.

John Pemble / IPR file photo

Congress faces a deadline Friday to pass a budget or a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown. Iowa’s senior senator says multiple issues are caught up in the current impasse.

One of those is the status of young adults living under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Republican Chuck Grassley says he supports “legalizing” immigrants brought to the United States illegally by their parents, if that’s paired with other restrictions on immigration. 

capitol
John Pemble/IPR file photo

Iowa Senate Republicans on Friday released recommendations made to them to ensure a safe workplace at the Iowa Capitol. The report was commissioned after taxpayers covered a $1.75 million sexual harassment settlement against Senate Republicans in October 2017.

gavel
Wikimedia Commons

The State of Iowa asked a Polk County judge Wednesday to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a former Iowa State University student alleging ISU did not properly investigate her sexual assault complaint.

Iowa Solicitor General Jeffrey Thompson says the lawsuit should be dismissed because the events described fall outside the two-year statute of limitations. The alleged sexual misconduct occurred in 2013.

kim reynolds
John Pemble / IPR

Gov. Kim Reynolds called for tax reform Tuesday in her first Condition of the State address before the Iowa Legislature.

Reynolds says her proposal will include personal income tax cuts for this year. She says she also wants to reduce corporate taxes, but "this is not the year" because of a tight state budget.

After a federal tax overhaul passed late last year, Reynolds is proposing eliminating Iowans’ ability to deduct their federal taxes from their state income taxes.

syringe
WerbeFabrik / Pixabay

State and federal public health officials agree Iowa needs a syringe exchange program to slow the spread of hepatitis C and prevent a possible HIV outbreak among Iowans who inject opioids and meth.

legislative leaders
Clay Masters / IPR

Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake, says the state’s privatized Medicaid system needs to be "in a better position" before the end of the upcoming legislative session.

Iowa’s handover of its Medicaid system to private companies in 2016 has led to patients losing services and providers losing payment.

pills in a bottle
nosheep / Pixabay

The Iowa Board of Pharmacy has filed a bill that would help fill gaps in the state’s system for tracking prescription opioid suppliers in an effort to identify patients who might be abusing prescription painkillers.

Pharmacies currently have to submit information to the Iowa prescription monitoring program (PMP) when they dispense opioids. The pharmacy board’s bill would require prescribers who supply opioids to also add that information to the PMP.

doctors office
Jennifer Morrow / flickr

More than 56,000 Iowans are enrolled in an individual health insurance plan for 2018 through the Affordable Care Act, according to Medica, the only insurance company left on Iowa's ACA exchange. 

An Iowa Insurance Division spokesman says that number is, "roughly in line with the 18,000 to 22,000 [consumers] we expected to leave the market." 

pills in a bottle
nosheep / Pixabay

The number of opioid-related deaths is expected to increase in Iowa this year compared to 2016. There were 180 opioid-related deaths in Iowa last year, and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is projecting that number will hit 201 by the end of 2017.

Eighty-six Iowans died of opioid overdoses in 2016, and IDPH expects about 96 opioid overdose deaths in 2017. 

johnson county building
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Johnson County is continuing to advocate for a higher minimum wage despite the Iowa Legislature’s reversal of local wage increases earlier this year.

Two economists involved with the county's Minimum Wage Advisory Committee told the board of supervisors Thursday the county has not seen adverse impacts from raising its minimum wage to $10.10.

chuck grassley
John Pemple/IPR file photo

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley says he is not questioning the White House’s vetting of potential federal judges after three judicial nominees were recently rejected. 

Grassley says it’s not that the rejected nominees lack legal capabilities, rather, they "probably lack good judgment." 

"And you want judges that are going to have good judgment—more important, a better word would be judicial temperament, meaning they’re going to leave their own views out of cases," Grassley says. 

foxhoven
John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Iowa Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven says the state can fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) into April.

Congress has yet to renew federal funding for the program, which is called hawk-i in Iowa. It provides health insurance for about 60,000 kids from low and moderate income families in the state.

Foxhoven says he thinks CHIP will be reauthorized, but he says Congress has been unpredictable.

grinnell walk
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Five years after the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut, some Grinnell residents are asking their neighbor, the president of the National Rifle Association (NRA), to speak with them about curbing gun violence.

Iowan Pete Brownell is CEO of Brownells, an international firearm business with a large warehouse and retail store in Grinnell. He was elected president of the NRA in May.

university of iowa
Vladimir Kulikov / Wikimedia Commons

A now-defunct student organization is suing the University of Iowa in federal court for religious discrimination. Business Leaders in Christ (BLinC) lost its status as a registered student organization after it allegedly denied a leadership position to a gay student. 

According to the lawsuit, BLinC told a member he wasn’t eligible for a leadership position because "his decision to enter into same-sex relationships was inconsistent with BLinC's religious beliefs."

ipers press conference
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Two Democrats say the upcoming legislative session may threaten retirement benefits for Iowa’s public employees. State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald and State Senator Matt McCoy say there are signs that Republicans want to make major changes to the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System (IPERS) next year.

"Some current legislative proposals to change IPERS, including a bill that was introduced last session, could break the promise we have made toward hardworking Iowans," Fitzgerald says. 

astrid gale
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Cameras and smiles were flashing at a Cedar Rapids church Saturday as more than a thousand people filed in to get their photos taken.

Parents and assistants were snapping, clapping, waving squeaky toys and stuffed animals, and talking about farts—anything to get stubborn kids to crack a smile.

Valerie Jedlicka’s family was trying to wrangle two toddlers in matching red and black plaid. After her family’s photo session in a church classroom-turned-portrait studio, Jedlicka says she’s thankful for the opportunity to create happy memories.

brad hart
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Brad Hart was elected mayor of Cedar Rapids Tuesday night.

Hart won 54 percent of the vote against Monica Vernon in the runoff election for Cedar Rapids mayor.

Hart is an attorney, and this was his first run for public office. He says voters may have wanted someone with a new perspective.

"We tried to get a message out that we’re going to be inclusive and accessible and just make the best decisions we can, and I think that resonated," Hart says.

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