Author

Randy Evans

Randy Evans

Randy Evans is executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, a 43-year-old nonprofit education and advocacy organization that works for improved government transparency and citizen accountability. He can be reached at [email protected]

COMMENTARY

The U.S. should not treat its friends this way  

By: - June 8, 2021

Too often these days, Americans and our government seem to be incapable of agreeing on what the best course of action is, regardless of the issue. This is especially true when we are talking about immigration and immigrants. Case in point: Zalmay Niazy of Iowa Falls. Before you jump to the conclusion that Niazy sneaked […]

COMMENTARY

Americans deserve answers about the Capitol attack, not more politics

By: - June 1, 2021

Plenty of stray thoughts have been swirling through my noggin lately. Thoughts like: What would Americans and members of Congress think today if the federal government decided against creating the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President John Kennedy? What would we think today if the House and Senate two decades ago rejected an […]

COMMENTARY

Lawmakers dropped the ball in not fixing recount law

By: - May 29, 2021

The chambers of the Iowa Senate and the Iowa House of Representatives are silent after a busy 2021 session. Lawmakers teed up bills that addressed a wide assortment of problems, real or imagined. They decided against an increase in tax revenues for the three state universities. They took away authority of local governments to impose […]

COMMENTARY

The population problem Iowa should discuss: Livestock and its effect on water quality

By: - May 11, 2021

Through the years, the Iowa Legislature is the place where Iowans gather to debate the biggest issues and challenges facing our state. It has been this way for 175 years. The 2021 session is days from adjournment, but there has been precious little time spent discussing one of the thorniest problems confronting this state in […]

COMMENTARY

Why offer remote access to public meetings after the pandemic? It’s common sense.

By: - May 4, 2021

People like to talk about what the law says. And in Iowa, the law has a lot to say. Just look at the Iowa Code. It now fills eight volumes and costs $295 for a complete set. But common sense costs nothing — although the 18th century thinker Voltaire once observed, “Common sense is not […]

COMMENTARY

Charter schools must have sunshine, too

By: - April 20, 2021

The 2021 session of the Iowa Legislature will end in a few weeks, and one big issue moving toward a final vote would make charter schools easier to create as an alternative to the traditional K-12 public schools. Others can debate the pros and cons of charter schools and House File 813, the bill that […]

COMMENTARY

Bob Ray would never have said refugee children are ‘not our problem’

By: - April 13, 2021

It’s hard for those of us of a certain vintage to realize it has been 39 years since Robert Ray was Iowa’s governor. In spite of the passage of so much time, his name was on the minds of many people last week. What triggered the Bob Ray memories was Gov. Kim Reynolds’ interview with […]

COMMENTARY

Blunt Boehner blisters Republicans in Congress

By: - April 6, 2021

It’s time for a confession. I have misjudged John Boehner. Oh, I knew he might speak candidly. Or, more precisely, I knew he could be extremely blunt. But where I was wrong was not recognizing Boehner was quite capable, and comfortable, being even more direct and more blunt than I ever dreamed possible. The 71-year-old […]

COMMENTARY

Iowans deserve a governor, not a ruler

By: - March 30, 2021

The Iowa Supreme Court chamber is a magnificent venue for the seven justices who referee the thorniest legal questions in our state. The courtroom seats a few dozen spectators. Last week, it’s a shame there weren’t thousands of people listening to the justices’ questions and the lawyers’ responses in the appeal of Christopher Godfrey’s lawsuit […]

COMMENTARY

Winners in court can still be losers and the cost may be free expression

By: - March 23, 2021

Many years ago, during a conversation with an old lawyer, he made a comment I still remember: “You can sue the bishop of Boston for bastardy, but that doesn’t mean you are going to collect.” It was Frank Karpan’s way of reminding a young editor that merely filing a lawsuit is not the most important […]

COMMENTARY

Iowa should stop keeping police discipline secret

By: - March 16, 2021

The actions of journalists and police officers were in the spotlight last week in a Des Moines courtroom. The scrutiny came at the trial of Andrea Sahouri, a Des Moines Register reporter. She was arrested while covering a chaotic protest last May 31, six days after George Floyd died under the knee of a Minneapolis […]

COMMENTARY

Iowa has more at stake than new road signs

By: - March 11, 2021

Tucked away among hundreds of bills being considered this year by the Iowa Legislature is one people might have quickly embraced in a different era. But times have changed. It has been 38 years since Robert Ray left the governor’s office. State government today is far messier than it was back then. Compounding the reaction […]