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Iowa Open Records Law
- 1 Recent news
- 2 Relevant legal cases
- 3 Proposed changes
- 4 Iowa's transparency report card
- 5 Features of the law
- 5.1 Declared legal intention
- 5.2 What records are covered?
- 5.3 What agencies are covered?
- 5.4 Who may request records?
- 5.5 Must a purpose be stated
- 5.6 How can records be used?
- 5.7 Time allowed for response
- 5.8 Fees for records
- 5.9 Role of the Attorney General
- 6 Open meetings
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
- 9 References
The Iowa Open Meetings Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted.
To learn more about how to make a public records request in this state, please see Iowa FOIA procedures.
No recent news.
No recent news.
No recent news.
No recent news.
Relevant legal cases
Here is a list of lawsuits in Iowa (cases are listed alphabetically; to order them by year, click the icon to the right of the "year" heading).
|City of Dubuque v. Telegraph Herald Inc.||1980|
|City of Sioux City v. Greater Sioux City Press Club||1988|
|Des Moines Register & Tribune Co. v. Osmundson||1976|
|Dubuque v. Dubuque Racing Association, Ltd||1988|
|Gannon and Nichols v. Iowa Board of Regents||2005|
|Howard v. Des Moines Register & Tribune Co.||1979|
|Iowa Civil Rights Commission v. City of Des Moines||1981|
|KMEG Television Inc. v. Iowa State Board of Regents||1989|
|Linder v. Eckard||1967|
|Northeast Council on Substance Abuse Inc. v. Iowa Dept. of Public Health, Div. of Substance Abuse||1994|
We do not currently have any legislation for Iowa in 2011.
We have no current bill pages for Iowa from 2010. This may be due to incomplete research.
- State Sen. Kim Reynolds, R-Osceola, proposed a new online state and local budget database. The database would provide free access to the public of all state and local budgets. It would cost an estimated $40,000 to $50,000 to create.
- House File 74 -- An Act relating to the establishment of a searchable budget database website for the public to access the details of the expenditure of state tax revenues and a searchable tax rate database for the public to access the details of each tax rate for all taxing districts in the state.
- Senate Study Bill 1231 -- "Members of the Senate State Government Committee voted 10-5 Wednesday to approve a measure containing provisions enhancing Iowa’s “sunshine” laws pertaining to public disclosure of out-of-court settlements and charitable donations to public foundations."
- Senate File 161 would create an Iowa public information board that would hear citizen complaints regarding government compliance with the open records law, and be empowered to enforce compliance.
Iowa's transparency report card
A 2007 study, Graded state responsiveness to FOI requests, conducted by BGA and the NFOIC, gave Iowa 53 points out of a possible 100, a letter grade of "F" and a ranking of 20 out of the 50 states.
Features of the law
- Compare States: Sunshine variations
- Click on the heading to compare your state's law to other state's transparency laws.
Declared legal intention
The declared legal intention of the law states, "Every person shall have the right to examine and copy a public record and to publish or otherwise disseminate a public record or the information contained in a public record."
What records are covered?
- See also: Defining public records
The Iowa law includes all records of government agencies except where the documents have been deemed confidential.
- Personal information on accepted students, current students, and past students
- Medical records
- Trade secrets
- Records of attorneys who represent the state
- Reports that result in unfair competition
- Appraisal information for public land purchases
- Criminal files
- Military confidential records
- Personal information in records of employees and elected officials of public agencies
- Library records
- Information on the donors of charitable contributions
- Corrections department information that would jeopardize security.
- Communications made to the government but not required by statute
- Archaeological and historical ecologically sensitive material locations and information
- Marketing and advertising budgets and strategies for non-profits
- Information maintained by mediators employed to solve the disputes with government agencies
What agencies are covered?
- See also: Defining public body
Government agencies are defined by the Iowa ORL as all divisions of government, including state and local divisions, as well as any parimutuel wagering group that receives funding from tax money. This excludes county or district fairs or agricultural societies.
- See also: Legislatures and transparency
While the Iowa Open Records Law's broad definition of public body incorporates the state legislature, Des Moines Register and Tribune Co. v. Dwyer held that the Senate withholds a constitutionally granted power to establish its own rules which may run counter to the Iowa Open Records Law.
Privatized governmental agencies
- See also: Private agency, public dollars
Iowa law subjects all entities, including private entities, that perform governmental functions to the Iowa Open Records Law.
- See also: Universities and open records
The definition of public body presumably includes public universities within the state. However, examinations and personal information on accepted students, current students, and past students is explicitly exempted under Iowa ORL 22.7.
Who may request records?
Must a purpose be stated
- See also: States requiring a statement of purpose
The Iowa law does not require a statement of purpose for records requests.
How can records be used?
- See also: Record use restrictions
No restrictions on the use of public records is present in the law.
Time allowed for response
- See also: Request response times by state
Iowa allows 10-20 days for record request responses to be completed.
Fees for records
- See also: How much do public records cost?
Fees can be ascribed strictly based on duplication and are at the discretion of the department.
- See also: Sunshine laws and search fees
The Iowa law does not permit charging fees for the cost associated with the search and retrieval of records.
Role of the Attorney General
- See also: Role of the Attorney General
Under § 22.10 of the Iowa Code Annotated, "any aggrieved person, any taxpayer to or citizen of the state of Iowa, or the attorney general or any county attorney, may seek judicial enforcement of the requirements of this chapter in an action brought against the lawful custodian and any other persons who would be appropriate defendants under the circumstances."
- See also: Iowa Open Meetings Law
"This chapter seeks to assure, through a requirement of open meetings of governmental bodies, that the basis and rationale of governmental decisions, as well as those decisions themselves, are easily accessible to the people. Ambiguity in the construction or application of this chapter should be resolved in favor of openness."
- Iowa FOIA procedures
- Iowa transparency advocates
- Iowa transparency legislation
- Private agency, public dollars-Iowa
- Iowa Open Meetings Law
- Iowa Code Chapter 21, Official Meetings Open to Public
- Iowa Code Chapter 22, Examination of Public Records
- Open Government Guide to Iowa
- Past articles on Iowa
- Sioux City Journal, "GOP offers open-government proposals"
- Text and Status of HF74
- Text of SB1231
- "Plan would strengthen open meetings, records laws", February 26, 2009
- Text & Status of SF161
- Bill History for SF 161
- 2008 BGA-Alper Integrity Index
- States Failing FOI Responsiveness, National Freedom of Information Coalition, October 2007
- Freedom of Information in the USA, 2002
- Iowa Code 22.2
- Iowa ORL 22.7
- Des Moines Register and Tribune Co. v. Dwyer via RCFP Guide to Iowa
- Private agency, public dollars-Iowa
- Iowa Code, 22.2(1)
- Iowa ORL 22.3
- Iowa Code Annotated § 22.10
- Iowa Code 21.1
State of Iowa
Des Moines (capital)
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