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]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


Republican lawmakers aren’t improving election security

By: - February 24, 2021

Iowa’s 2020 election was one for the record books — with 1.7 million people marking ballots. It was an impressive turnout in Iowa — with 76% of Iowa’s eligible voters taking part. There were no allegations of election fraud or polling place shenanigans in Iowa. No one suggested people from cemeteries were casting ballots in […]


Reynolds’ shifting views on personal choice could give Iowans whiplash

By: - February 16, 2021

Gov. Kim Reynolds’ message for Iowans has been consistent since the coronavirus pandemic arrived a year ago: Yes, wearing masks is important, the governor has made clear, but government should leave it to people to do right thing. Reynolds has been under intense pressure, both for and against facial masks. Advocates for a mask mandate […]


Iowa’s new symbol should be a question mark

By: - February 10, 2021

Through the years, the Iowa Legislature has chosen an official state flower and a state bird. There’s also a state tree and even an official rock. It may be time for lawmakers to designate an official state punctuation mark, too. The question mark seems to be an appropriate choice — especially after the troubling news […]


Repeat after me: Let the public know about public meetings

By: - January 29, 2021

The purpose was pretty simple when the Iowa Legislature wrote the state’s public meetings law many years ago: Government boards are required to announce their meetings at least one day in advance, and officials must tell the public what will be discussed and voted on. People are entitled to participate in our democracy by attending […]


Let’s clear up needless confusion about the First Amendment

By: - January 23, 2021

Forty-five words that were first written with a quill pen 230 years ago form what may be the most consequential sentence in United States history. But that sentence also is one of the most misunderstood — as recent comments from some of our leaders illustrate. The sentence I refer to is the First Amendment. It […]