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.

Here’s how Iowa unions, worker groups are celebrating Labor Day

By: - September 2, 2022

Iowa’s workforce is stabilizing as Labor Day celebrations kick off across the state. While worker shortages remain a problem for Iowa’s economy, unemployment rates are down nationwide. The U.S. Department of Labor reported unemployment rose from just 3.5% at 3.7% in August, and that 786,000 people entered the workforce. Iowa’s unemployment rate was lower in July, […]

Cost still challenges Iowa college students despite federal debt forgiveness

By: - September 2, 2022

While many Iowa college students and graduates will benefit from the national student loan forgiveness program, student aid workers say it may not encourage more Iowans to pursue higher education. Meghan Oster, the division administrator for research and communication at Iowa College Aid, said it’s too early to know for sure how the announcement will […]

Iowa Workforce Development receives $2.9 million in federal funding

By: - September 1, 2022

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded Iowa Workforce Development a $2.9 million grant to help the state improve its unemployment benefits system. The American Rescue Plan Act provided $26 million in total grant funding to Iowa, California, Michigan, Nevada and West Virginia to help the states improve their unemployment insurance programs. The goal of […]

Iowa launches merged Health and Human Services department

By: - August 31, 2022

Iowa officially has a new government department: Health and Human Services. The new agency, which combines the state’s departments of public health and human services,  unveiled its new mission and brand this week. The department plans to merge the agencies’ social media page and a new HHS website will replace the old agencies’ websites this […]

Iowa awards two health care companies contracts for state Medicaid program

By: - August 31, 2022

Iowa’s Medicaid benefits will be administered by three health insurance companies, the state Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday. The state announced its intent to award managed care contracts with Amerigroup Iowa and Molina Healthcare of Iowa. These new contracts will go into effect while the state finishes out its current contract with […]

Iowa Auditor Rob Sand announces cost-cutting competition winners

By: - August 30, 2022

More city and county governments are participating in the state auditor’s cost-cutting competition this year, Iowa Auditor Rob Sand said in a news conference Monday. Sand announced the winners of this year’s Public Innovations and Efficiencies (PIE) program, which was created in 2019 to help public entities find new ways to save money. To participate, […]

Iowa’s new voting rules: What to know as absentee voting requests start

By: - August 30, 2022

Iowans are now able to request absentee ballots to vote in the general election, but changes to state voting laws mean Iowans will not be able to cast their votes until later than they may have in the past. Gov. Kim Reynolds signed legislation into law last year that shortened both early and Election Day […]

AARP’s ‘Fraud Watch’ program works to educate seniors about scams

By: - August 29, 2022

Older Iowans are more likely to be targeted by scams, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and Iowa Insurance Division Commissioner Doug Ommen said, which is why seniors need to learn how to spot the warning signs. Learning how to identify scams and frauds is the goal of the AARP “Fraud Watch” educational program, a statewide tour […]

State-funded expansion of crisis pregnancy services may be a year away

By: - August 24, 2022

Iowa organizations encouraging alternatives to abortion may see increased demand for their services if abortion laws change. But the $500,000 in state funding the Legislature allocated to expand these services is not yet available and new abortion restrictions may come first. The Legislature passed the “More Options for Maternal Support” (MOMS) program into law earlier […]

Iowa joins 23 states in support of Indian Child Welfare Act

By: - August 23, 2022

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller called for the U.S. Supreme Court to reject a challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act, which protects Native American children from forced removal from their families and tribal communities. Miller joined 23 other state attorneys general Monday in filing an amicus brief in Harland v. Brackeen. The lawsuit was […]

Political Soapbox: Here’s what candidates are saying at the Iowa State Fair

By: - August 20, 2022

Candidates running in this year’s midterm elections are speaking directly with Iowans at the Iowa State Fair. The Des Moines Register Political Soapbox is a state fair mainstay. It’s known best as a stop for presidential candidates in the leadup to the Iowa caucuses, though none are on the schedule this year. Instead, fairgoers have […]

Former VP Mike Pence talks about FBI, Jan. 6 panel at Iowa State Fair

By: - August 19, 2022

There weren’t many Iowans on the concourse as former Vice President Mike Pence made his way around the Iowa State Fair Friday. Most visitors were staying indoors during an afternoon downpour that hit Des Moines, but Pence and U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley braved the weather. They stopped at favorite fair locations for politicians, including the […]