Robin Opsahl

Robin Opsahl

Robin Opsahl is an Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter covering the state Legislature and politics. They have experience covering government, elections and more at media organizations including Roll Call, the Sacramento Bee and the Wausau Daily Herald.

Iowa senators propose resolution condemning jail treatment of Jan. 6 rioters

By: - March 23, 2023

Six Republican state senators have introduced a resolution condemning the treatment and punishment of people jailed and charged for participation in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection. Senate Resolution 8 would have the Iowa Senate denounce the federal and District of Columbia’s governments for the “abject dereliction of duty to ensure cruel and unusual punishments […]

Senate votes to restrict school books, teaching related to sex, LGBTQ identities

By: - March 22, 2023

The Iowa Senate passed a bill Wednesday restricting books and instruction related to LGBTQ identities in Iowa classrooms and libraries. Lawmakers changed language in Senate File 496 Wednesday, before passing it 34-16. The amendment to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ “parental rights” bill added requirements that school libraries not include materials which depict, visually or textually, any sex […]

Governor signs transgender medical care, bathroom use bills into law

By: - March 22, 2023

Transgender youth can no longer receive gender-affirming care or use school bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity under laws signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds. The governor signed 10 bills into law Wednesday, including a ban on gender-affirming care for minors and a requirement that people can only use school bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond […]

Iowa Senate passes asset, income tests for SNAP eligibility

By: - March 22, 2023

Iowans receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits would have to go through an asset test to continue receiving benefits under a bill passed by the Iowa Senate Wednesday. Senate File 494 would require Iowa families on SNAP have a maximum of $15,000 in assets to remain eligible. The bill would also create a new […]

Hands-free driving bill passes Iowa Senate

By: - March 22, 2023

The Iowa Senate moved forward Wednesday with a measure establishing fines for drivers who use their phones behind the wheel without voice-activated or hands-free technology. Senate File 547 was approved by the Iowa Senate on Wednesday on a 47-3 vote. It’s a measure law enforcement officials have asked lawmakers to pass for four years, arguing […]

Bill establishing midwife licensing advances through Iowa House

By: - March 21, 2023

Midwives would have a licensing process for the first time in Iowa under legislation approved with bipartisan support Tuesday by Iowa House. Iowa is one of 15 states that does not have a licensing process for professional midwives. The bill, House File 265, would create a regulatory board to certify midwifes and ensure they’ve completed […]

Governor says she plans to sign ban on gender-affirming procedures for minors

By: - March 21, 2023

Gov. Kim Reynolds told reporters Tuesday she supports putting a “pause” on gender-related medical care for transgender children until more long-term research on the childhood care is published. Reynolds said she plans to sign into law Senate File 538, which passed through both chambers earlier this month, prohibiting doctors from giving gender-affirming medical care to […]

‘Safe and Sound Iowa’ app launches as schools face swatting calls

By: - March 21, 2023

As Iowa schools and law enforcement grapple with a flood of “swatting” calls – false reports of emergency situations to bring law enforcement to the scene – Gov. Kim Reynolds announced the Governor’s School Safety Bureau’s launch of a new, anonymous threat-reporting app. Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens said Tuesday that 30 […]

Democrats release reproductive health care legislative goals

By: - March 20, 2023

Iowa House Democrats’ legislative proposals on reproductive health care access are unlikely to pass this session — but the minority party leaders said Iowans need to know there are people at the Statehouse fighting for their rights. “We don’t look at the odds and say, ‘Well, it’s not going to pass so we’re not going […]

Lawmakers OK ‘bathroom bill’ restricting transgender students’ use of school restrooms

By: - March 16, 2023

A ban on transgender students’ use of bathrooms and locker rooms that conflict with their assigned sex at birth is headed to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ desk. The so-called “bathroom bill,” one of many passed by state legislatures around the country, was approved by House lawmakers Thursday. Its passage came just one week after Iowa lawmakers […]

Vice President Kamala Harris cites Iowa’s role in legal challenges to abortion

By: - March 16, 2023

Vice President Kamala Harris, in Des Moines on Thursday, said Iowa is “on the front lines” of the fight over abortion access. Harris joined a roundtable discussion on reproductive rights with Democratic leaders, health care providers and community advocates at Grand View University in Des Moines. It’s not just lawmakers taking action to strip Americans […]

he State Capital of Iowa is reflected by the Henry A Wallace Building

Massive state government reorganization awaits Reynolds’ signature

By: - March 15, 2023

Another one of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ priorities for the 2023 legislative session made it to the finish line Wednesday as the House passed her government reorganization bill. The House passed Senate File 514 on a 58-39 vote. It would reduce the number of executive-level agencies from 37 to 16. Reynolds is expected to sign it […]