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.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis talks Disney, book bans at Iowa campaign kickoff

By: - May 30, 2023

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis received an energetic welcome at his first Iowa event as a 2024 candidate Tuesday, with crowds cheering as he spoke about bringing his fight against “woke” ideology to the White House. More than 500 people filled the Eternity Church auditorium Tuesday, with people standing along the edges of the room after […]

Reynolds signs law loosening Iowa’s child labor restrictions

By: - May 26, 2023

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law a measure allowing workers under age 18 to work longer hours, in some restricted fields and in jobs serving alcohol. The governor signed Senate File 542 Friday afternoon. Reynolds said Iowa is joining 20 other states in providing “tailored, common sense labor provisions” that let minors develop skills in […]

Governor signs education bills, including ban on school books depicting sex

By: - May 26, 2023

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed several of her priority education bills into law Friday, including “parental rights” legislation that would ban books that depict sex from school libraries. Reynolds signed seven education bills into law during a private event Friday. Changes to Iowa’s education system — and how LGBTQ students and topics are approached — have […]

Pence focuses on parental rights in Iowa events while considering 2024 run

By: - May 24, 2023

Former Vice President Mike Pence spoke with Iowa voters and conservative leaders at Des Moines area events this week, though he has yet to officially enter the 2024 Republican presidential race. Pence spoke with Polk County Republicans at a county party fundraiser Tuesday, in addition to Wednesday stops at the Westside Conservative Club and a […]

Training begins for parents navigating the Education Savings Account program

By: - May 22, 2023

As Iowa prepares to begin accepting applications for the Education Savings Account program, the state is offering parents training to help them navigate the application process. Gov. Kim Reynolds has announced a slate of webinars to be hosted by Odyssey, the New York education technology company contracted to manage Iowa’s ESA program. The first of […]

Iowa special education providers seek new funding model after ESA program approved

By: - May 18, 2023

As Iowa’s Area Education Agencies prepare to navigate the rising costs and needs of special education on a reduced budget, they’re hoping to shift to a more sustainable funding model in future legislative sessions. Administrators at Iowa’s AEAs are now deciding how to best allocate their newly diminished resources. In the final days of session, […]

U.S. officials say Iowa child labor bill does not comply with federal law

By: - May 17, 2023

The child labor legislation awaiting Gov. Kim Reynolds’ signature does not comply with federal law, according to a letter from U.S. Department of Labor employees. Seven Democratic state senators sent a letter to the federal department in March, requesting a review of the provisions in Senate File 542 to determine whether they meet federal labor […]

Reynolds, Ernst highlight actions addressing fentanyl crisis

By: - May 16, 2023

ATLANTIC — Iowa Republicans highlighted their actions to combat the fentanyl crisis Tuesday in response to a shift in immigration policy under President Joe Biden’s administration. Gov. Kim Reynolds held a fentanyl roundtable in Atlantic with local government and law enforcement officials and Attorney General Brenna Bird. Afterward, Reynolds told reporters that Iowa can’t force […]

Mike Pence, Nikki Haley returning to Iowa for Sen. Joni Ernst’s Roast and Ride

By: - May 15, 2023

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst announced two Republicans from the Trump administration will be special guests at her annual “Roast and Ride” event June 3. Ernst announced Monday that former Vice President Mike Pence will be attending her event. The charity fundraiser has been one of the prominent Iowa caucus stops for Republican presidential candidates since […]

Trump cancels outdoor Des Moines rally due to tornado watch

By: - May 13, 2023

Former President Donald Trump canceled his planned rally at Water Works Park in Des Moines Saturday because of potential severe weather conditions. Trekking through muddy grass and headed back to their cars, attendees said they were disappointed the event was postponed. Video screens around the venue featured signs telling people the event was postponed, and […]

Gov. Kim Reynolds signs law capping certain damages in trucking lawsuits

By: - May 12, 2023

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed legislation Friday that enacts a $5 million limit on noneconomic damages a victim can recover in court cases against trucking companies whose employees cause accidents. The liability limits in Senate File 228 apply to lawsuits against trucking companies whose employee caused injury, death, or other significant damages. Only the noneconomic damages […]

Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy proposes raising voting age to 25

By: - May 11, 2023

Vivek Ramaswamy told a group of young Republicans in Urbandale Thursday that raising the voting age will make American youth more patriotic and politically involved. At 37 years old, Ramaswamy is the youngest candidate running for president in the 2024 nominating cycle. While the entrepreneur has spoken about trying to engage more young people in […]