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.

Gov. Kim Reynolds doesn’t commit to ‘red flag’ law in Iowa despite new funds

By: - July 14, 2022

Gov. Kim Reynolds was tight-lipped this week on whether Iowa would implement “red flag” gun safety laws in light of Congress passing legislation which would offer states federal funding for their implementation. President Joe Biden recently signed into law a bill that includes funding for states that pass legislation allowing authorities and family members to […]

Fentanyl behind overdose death spike in Iowa, officials warn

By: - July 12, 2022

More Iowans are dying of fentanyl-related overdoses than ever before, Iowa health and public safety officials said, which is why the state launched a campaign encouraging Iowans to avoid counterfeit pills. Gov. Kim Reynolds hosted a news conference Tuesday, detailing Iowa’s rising overdose death rates related to fentanyl. The state has seen a 120% rise […]

Will Democratic caucus changes be enough for Iowa to remain first?

By: - July 8, 2022

The Iowa caucuses will look very different in 2024 under a proposal submitted by Iowa Democrats, but some national party members still question whether the planned system is enough of a change to make Iowa more equitable. The Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws committee met Friday afternoon for the first time after hearing from […]

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Iowa Republicans maintain voter registration lead following primary

By: - July 7, 2022

Iowa’s Republican Party grew in ranks by almost 25,000 voters between June and July, new voting registration data shows. The Iowa Secretary of State’s office reported that more than 681,871 Iowans are registered Republicans in July 2020, compared to more than 597,120 registered Democrats. The rest of the state’s nearly 1,850,000 registered voters are independents […]

Republicans scope out 2024 presidential prospects in Iowa midterm campaigns

By: - July 6, 2022

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton spent his Wednesday afternoon at Jethro’s BBQ ‘n Bacon Bacon in West Des Moines. He didn’t come for the food: The Arkansas conservative came to help Iowa Sen. Zach Nunn launch his campaign’s veteran coalition, offering his support in the race against incumbent U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne. It’s not the senator’s […]

Iowa Republicans criticize Senate candidate Michael Franken’s objection to anti-Biden flag

By: - July 1, 2022

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Michael Franken said he did not serve his nation as a U.S. Navy admiral for a person flying a profane anti-Biden flag that he spotted on the campaign trail this week. Republicans said that means he doesn’t respect freedom of speech. Franken spoke Thursday during a campaign stop about seeing the […]

Rep. Cindy Axne defends ad attacking Sen. Zach Nunn on Adventureland ties

By: - July 1, 2022

As the family of an 11-year-old boy who died at Adventureland amusement park goes to court against the park, U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne has attempted to make the accident a campaign issue. The Democratic representative, who seeks re-election in Iowa’s 3rd District, released two campaign ads in June tying her opponent, Iowa Sen. Zach Nunn, […]

Your guide to Iowa’s new laws

By: - July 1, 2022

Schools are no longer able to mandate vaccines, unemployment benefits last 10 fewer weeks, and Iowans can be charged with elder abuse starting Friday, July 1, as many of laws from the Iowa Legislature’s 2022 session take effect. These may be the final changes to Iowa law coming in 2022, as the governor has said […]

Abortion patients say current laws posed barriers to care even before Roe’s fall

By: - June 30, 2022

Marcella Peltz decided to have an abortion in November 2017. It was not a choice she wanted to make. The Council Bluffs woman and her then-fiancé had long planned to have a child. They had already decided on a name – Thea Brook – and had a gender reveal party celebrating her pregnancy. But when […]

Vilsack, Axne urge Iowa farmers to apply for derecho relief funds

By: - June 29, 2022

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne urged farmers Wednesday to take advantage of emergency relief funds to recover from environmental disasters. The Iowa officials visited a farm of about 1,200 acres near Minburn, where Chris Nelson and his family raise cattle and grow row crops. The 2020 derecho flattened the farm’s […]

Vilsack announces $10 million grant program to develop new uses for ag waste

By: - June 28, 2022

ELY, Iowa — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, during an eastern Iowa visit Tuesday, announced a $10 million initiative to help farms and businesses find uses for waste byproducts. The grant program is one piece of President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure law, passed in November. Vilsack said the initiative will help build a […]

Iowa Planned Parenthood clinics prepare for patients from states with abortion bans

By: - June 27, 2022

Planned Parenthood clinics in Iowa are preparing to help patients who may travel from states where abortion is now illegal. Following Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling, abortions are no longer legal in several Midwestern states. North Dakota and South Dakota have trigger laws which ban abortion within the next month. Wisconsin immediately halted abortions, with […]