Author

Robin Opsahl

Robin Opsahl

Robin Opsahl is an Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter covering the state Legislature and politics. Robin has experience covering government, elections and more at media organizations including Roll Call, the Sacramento Bee and the Wausau Daily Herald, in addition to working on multimedia projects, newsletters and visualizations. They were a political reporter for the Des Moines Register covering the Iowa caucuses leading up to the 2020 presidential election, assisting with the Register's Iowa Poll, and reporting on Iowa's 4th District elections.

Iowa Juneteenth proclamation signed in second year of federal observance

By: - June 20, 2022

Gov. Kim Reynolds proclaimed the celebration of Juneteenth in Iowa Monday in the second year of the holiday’s recognition nationally. Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved Black Americans in Galveston, Texas, when Union general Gordon Granger and troops arrived to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation on June 19, 1865. Enforcements arrived more than two years after […]

Democrats’ message: Iowans’ rights are on the line with Republican control

By: - June 19, 2022

Just days after the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision on abortion rights in Iowa, state Democrats are advancing the message other rights could be in danger. The Iowa Supreme Court released a monumental decision Friday in which the court found there is no state constitutional right to an abortion. The decision, which overturns a 2018 Iowa […]

Reynolds vetoes judicial nominating commission changes

By: - June 17, 2022

Gov. Kim Reynolds vetoed changes to Iowa’s judicial nomination commissions on Friday. Reynolds signed the judicial appropriations bill, House File 2558, but vetoed two parts of the bill that would change judicial nominating commissions. Iowa uses nominating commissions to find candidates to fill vacancies for judicial districts, the Iowa Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, […]

Iowa Supreme Court erases state constitutional right to abortion

By: and - June 17, 2022

The Iowa Supreme Court found there is no state constitutional right to an abortion, reversing a previous decision in a ruling Friday. The decision leaves Iowa open to an abortion ban or heightened restrictions if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns federal protections in a ruling expected in the coming weeks. The new interpretation of abortion […]

Iowans have 10 fewer weeks of unemployment under new law

By: - June 16, 2022

Unemployed Iowans will receive 10 fewer weeks of benefits starting July 1, and they may have to take lower-paying jobs sooner than they do now. Gov. Kim Reynolds signed these changes into law alongside two other workforce bills Thursday at the Iowa Association of Business and Industry conference in Dubuque. The governor said the new […]

Coalition launches campaign against pro-gun amendment

By: - June 16, 2022

Gun safety advocates launched a campaign Thursday to rally Iowans to defeat a constitutional amendment appearing on the state’s November ballot that would make it more difficult to restrict the purchase and ownership of firearms. Advocates formed a coalition, Iowans for Responsible Gun Laws, to push back against the “Keep and Bear Arms Amendment.” The […]

Iowa prisoners earn less than $1 per hour for work, ACLU report finds

By: - June 16, 2022

Iowa prisoners earn less than $1 per hour while working, according to an ACLU prison labor report. The American Civil Liberties Union released a report on state and federal prison labor Wednesday, calling for reform. Roughly 800,000 prisoners, 65% of the population, reported working during their incarceration. More than three-quarters of the laborers surveyed said […]

Iowa governor signs elder abuse penalties amid a flurry of new laws

By: and - June 15, 2022

Gov. Kim Reynolds sat down with a pile of pens Wednesday at Highland Ridge, a senior care facility in Williamsburg. She signed Senate File 522, a bill establishing criminal penalties for elder abuse. It passed unanimously in both chambers of the Iowa Statehouse. Supporters of the bill gathered around the desk where she signed the […]

Iowa invests $100 million in federal funds toward school security, mental health

By: - June 14, 2022

Iowa will allocate $100 million in federal funds toward school security and mental health programs, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Tuesday. She proposed the investment, which includes no gun control measures, for prevention of school shootings and other violence, she said at a news conference. The plan starts with the creation of a School Safety Bureau, […]

Republicans link Iowa Democrats with Biden in red wave bid

By: - June 11, 2022

Republican energy was high at Iowa’s State Republican Convention Saturday. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate held up a newspaper, reading aloud a story on high Republican turnout in the June 7 primary election. “We need to continue to do that,” Pate told the crowd. Republicans are hoping to turn that voter participation into a […]

Reynolds’ school choice push worked in the primaries, ousting incumbents

By: - June 11, 2022

Gov. Kim Reynolds put her weight into several Republican primaries for Iowa House seats, hoping to gain supporters for her education agenda. Her efforts paid off, and she made it clear Saturday the issue will be central to her campaign. “Ultimately, we’re going to make sure that every parent has a choice in their child’s […]

Gubernatorial candidate Deidre DeJear calls for gun reform in the wake of Ames shooting

By: - June 10, 2022

Deidre DeJear said there were no empty seats in Cornerstone Church last Sunday. The Democratic gubernatorial candidate attended a service in the Ames church days after an armed man shot and killed two women, then himself, in the church parking lot. The community was still reeling from the senseless violence, she said, but came together […]