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.

Constitutional amendment would require supermajority approval for tax increases

By: - March 27, 2023

Future lawmakers would have a harder time raising taxes under a constitutional amendment that legislators discussed Monday. The amendment proposed in Senate Study Bill 1207 would require that any bill aimed at increasing individual or corporate income tax rates be approved by at least two-thirds of each chamber. It would also enshrine the Iowa Taxpayer […]

Iowa lawmakers move toward raising penalties for fentanyl distribution

By: - March 24, 2023

As law enforcement agencies grapple with a spike in fentanyl overdoses, the Iowa House moved forward this week with a measure increasing penalties on distribution of the drug. House File 595 is another of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ priorities for the 2023 legislative session. Overdose deaths caused by synthetic opioids like fentanyl are rising in Iowa. The […]

House Republicans propose higher budget target with goal of aiding nursing homes

By: - March 23, 2023

House lawmakers are aiming for a higher budget target than the governor’s and Senate’s proposals, House Speaker Pat Grassley said Thursday. House Republicans are aiming for nearly $50 million more in general fund appropriations for the 2024 fiscal year than other Republican leadership’s proposals. Grassley said the additional spending would address other issues GOP representatives […]

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 […]