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.

Sen. Tim Scott mulls presidential bid while hosting Iowa events

By: - February 22, 2023

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott sidestepped questions about running for president in 2024 while kicking off a series of Iowa events Wednesday with Gov. Kim Reynolds at a Des Moines Catholic school. The South Carolina Republican is in Iowa for his “Faith in America” listening tour, with plans to speak at Drake University and headline a […]

Lawmakers consider sales tax changes for local governments

By: - February 21, 2023

Local government advocates say property tax reductions will mean cuts to the services and amenities Iowans rely on — but lawmakers are considering a proposal they say will help cities, counties and school districts pursue new means of funding. Lawmakers discussed legislation to create one potential new revenue source Tuesday in a Senate Ways and Means […]

Bill reinstating death penalty moves out of Senate Judiciary Committee

By: - February 21, 2023

Lawmakers who support reinstating the death penalty argued with opponents Tuesday over whether capital punishment is more likely to save or cost innocent lives. Senate File 14 would reinstate capital punishment in Iowa in cases where a minor is kidnapped, raped and murdered. It moved out of the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday on a 10-8 […]

GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley calls for ‘school choice’ programs nationwide

By: - February 20, 2023

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, speaking Monday in Iowa, applauded implementation of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ private school scholarship program and called for school choice nationwide. “I have said for a long time and I mean it: You have the best governor in the country,” Haley said. “She has proven it time and time again, whether […]

Governor’s agency revamp undermines Legislature, Democrats argue

By: - February 20, 2023

Gov. Kim Reynolds’ bill to reorganize state government will take away legislative oversight and consolidate power with the governor, Democrats said Monday. A House State Government subcommittee held its first of four meetings on the 1,500-page bill, which consolidates Iowa’s system of state government from 37 cabinet-level agencies to 16. In the Monday meeting, representatives […]

Gov. Kim Reynolds signs new medical malpractice liability limits into law

By: - February 16, 2023

One of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ proposals to address rural health care shortages in Iowa became law Thursday while another passed out of a Senate committee. Reynolds signed House File 161, limiting liability for doctors and hospitals from medical malpractice lawsuits. Both chambers passed the measure earlier in February. “Today, Iowa joins the majority of U.S. states […]

House panel expands bill that bans teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity

By: - February 15, 2023

The Iowa House Education Committee voted Wednesday to expand legislation banning teaching on gender identity and sexual orientation, extending the restriction through sixth grade. The previous version of the House File 8 prohibited the subjects from kindergarten through third grade. Democrats opposed the amendment along with the overall bill, saying it could lead to more […]

Senate panel advances bill to reinstate the death penalty for some crimes

By: - February 15, 2023

Iowa Republican lawmakers advanced a bill Wednesday reinstating the death penalty in Iowa for cases in which a person is convicted of killing a minor after kidnapping and sexually abusing them. Senate File 14 would only apply the death penalty in cases where a person is convicted of multiple offenses of murder in the first […]

Bill could make Iowans with cars, savings ineligible for SNAP, Medicaid

By: - February 15, 2023

Having a car or modest savings could disqualify families for some public assistance under a bill lawmakers are considering in the Iowa Senate. Senate Study Bill 1105 would require an asset test for Iowans applying for SNAP and Medicaid assistance. The Senate bill does not include changes proposed in the House legislation that restrict the […]

Firearm, fossil fuel boycotts prohibited under Iowa investment strategy bill

By: - February 14, 2023

Companies managing state funds could not factor social causes into their investment strategies if legislation moved forward by an Iowa Senate panel is signed into law. The bill targets ESG investment strategies, in which investment firms take into account “environmental, social and governance factors” when deciding where to invest money. Senate Study Bill 1094 would […]

Senate panel advances governor’s health care bill without over-the-counter birth control provision

By: - February 14, 2023

A Senate subcommittee advanced a version of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ health care omnibus bill Tuesday that does not include the over-the-counter birth control provision in her original proposal. Many of the speakers at the Tuesday meeting were registered undecided on the Senate Study Bill 1139, strongly supporting some parts of the bill while taking issue […]

Multiple bills propose striking HPV vaccine information requirement in Iowa schools

By: - February 13, 2023

Iowa lawmakers are considering eliminating a requirement that schools inform students about the HPV vaccine, which prevents certain cancers. Under current law, Iowa schools provide information on availability of a vaccine for the human papillomavirus when teaching on human growth and development or health curriculum. House File 187 would strike that requirement. The bill advanced […]