Iowa Open Records Law
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
- See also: Iowa transparency headlines
- Iowa Governor's office requires $744 before even considering releasing email records 2010-07-26 14:49:43
- Iowa gov starts using state e-mail after scrutiny 2009-06-03 13:41:22
- Culver's staff sits on cuts list 2009-06-03 13:20:56
- Iowa Association of School Boards seeks exemption for older records 2011-01-19 16:20:07
- Confusion over whether marriage license applications are a public record 2009-06-03 13:58:09
- UI sues over public-records law 2009-06-03 13:11:13
- Pared-down open records bill passes House 2009-06-03 13:56:17
- Changes to 'sunshine' law debated 2009-06-03 13:52:03
- State Republicans call for Iowa tax Web site 2009-06-03 13:34:33
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Relevant legal cases
- See also: Court cases with an impact on state FOIA
Here is a list of lawsuits in Iowa. For more information go the page or go to Iowa sunshine lawsuits.
(The cases are listed alphabetically. To order them by year please 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|
|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. To add some, please see WikiProject Proposed state sunshine legislation.
Here are a list of 30 random bills from Iowa from 2010. For a full list, please see Iowa transparency legislation.
- 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 $40,00 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 which 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.
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."
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
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 group who receives funding from tax money. This excludes county or district fairs or agricultural societies.
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 their own rules which may run counter to the Iowa Open Records Law. 
Iowa law subjects all entities, including private entities, that perform governmental functions to the Iowa Open Records Law. 
Status: Presumed Open Popular Exemptions Research Donors Examinations Course Materials 
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.
The Iowa law does not require a statement of purpose for records requests.
No restrictions on the use of Public records is present in the law.
- 10-20 days
Iowa allows for 10-20 days for record request responses to be completed.
Fees for records
Fees can be ascribed strictly based on duplication and are at the discretion of the department.
The Iowa law does not permit charging fees for the cost associated with the search and retrieval of records.
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." 
- To read more about open meetings in Iowa, please see: 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 headlines
- 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
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Iowa ORL 22.7
- ↑ Des Moines Register and Tribune Co. v. Dwyer via RCFP Guide to Iowa
- ↑ Private agency, public dollars-Iowa
- ↑ Iowa ORL 22.7
- ↑ 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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