Public Information

Information on sanctioned nurses and EMTs can be hard to access

BY: - March 23, 2023

Public information on Iowa nurses and emergency medical technicians accused of wrongdoing isn’t always easy to access — and, in some cases, it has been impossible to obtain. The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services acknowledged this week that it had not disclosed on its website any of the disciplinary actions taken against emergency […]


Why we need cameras in federal courts

BY: - March 19, 2023

It is high time the federal judiciary got over itself and joined the 20th century, much less the 21st. Here we are some 70 years after the invention of television, and our federal court system still operates behind a black curtain that keeps all of us from better understanding the critical decisions being made that affect […]

ISU says the school isn’t required to tally complaints against coaches

BY: - March 16, 2023

The Iowa Public Information Board expressed concern Thursday that Iowa State University won’t disclose the number of complaints against coaches, but then dismissed a citizen’s complaint on the matter. In January, Elizabeth Pirotte filed a complaint with the board, alleging Iowa State University had violated the state’s Open Records Law. Pirotte alleged she had filed […]


Iowa is out of step on public access to police video

BY: - March 15, 2023

Every few months, someone is killed or injured by police somewhere in the United States under circumstances that lead to inevitable questions about what exactly occurred. Typically, answers come when video from the law officers’ squad car cameras or their uniform cameras is made public. Each time this occurs, there are two inescapable conclusions: First, […]

Bill would eliminate public notice requirement in newspapers

BY: - March 8, 2023

A bill approved Wednesday by an Iowa Senate committee would create a new state website to publish public notices and eliminate a long-standing requirement for cities, schools and other entities to publish the notices in newspapers. Proponents of Senate File 480 say it would result in significant savings for public entities that are required by […]

Open records advocates: Senate bill might delay information requests

BY: - February 27, 2023

A bill that was advanced by an Iowa Senate subcommittee on Monday would delay court litigation over public records requests until the “exhaustion of all administrative remedies.” Sen. Scott Webster, R-Bettendorf, said the purpose of Senate File 370 is to lessen the attorneys’ fees paid by public entities by requiring most records disputes to first […]


A rural school teaches lessons on governing

BY: - February 21, 2023

There is an interesting study in contrasts playing out right now in Iowa. One example comes from the Davis County School District in Bloomfield. It is the 96th-largest of Iowa’s 328 public districts, with an enrollment of 1,150 students. The other example comes from the Iowa Legislature and Gov. Kim Reynolds. The Davis County school […]

State won’t identify care facilities that owe money to taxpayers, disabled residents

BY: - February 20, 2023

The Iowa state agency charged with regulating nursing homes says it won’t publicly identify the privately run care facilities that owe money to taxpayers and to their own elderly and disabled residents. Newly disclosed state records show that as of 2022, care facilities in Iowa owed at least half a million dollars either to their […]

Check out these 2023 MLK Day events around Iowa

BY: - January 15, 2023

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day is a state and federal holiday that will be observed Monday. Here are some ways Iowans can celebrate this week: The Iowa Department of Human Rights’ Office on the Status of African Americans will host its 34th annual celebration honoring King’s life and legacy at 10:45 a.m. Monday. The virtual […]


When ‘reasonable’ costs for public records become unreasonable

BY: - January 11, 2023

The Legislature wrote Iowa’s public records law 55 years ago, and one of the tenets of the statute was the belief people deserve to know how state and local governments spend their tax money. Another important concept in the law is that fees for copies of government records must be reasonable and cannot exceed the […]

Iowans give millions to sheriffs’ group that spends only 34% on charity

BY: - January 9, 2023

Less than 34% of the $2.6 million Iowans have donated to an Iowa sheriffs’ group in recent years has been used for the stated purpose of training officers and helping underprivileged children. Newly disclosed tax filings by the Iowa State Sheriffs and Deputies Association Institute indicate the organization raised more money in 2021 than at […]

Iowa counties’ records inaccessible in wake of suspected cyberattack

BY: - January 6, 2023

A computer system used by some of Iowa’s county recorders appears to have been hacked over the holidays and has yet to be restored to full operational status. Iowa’s county recorders maintain land records, issue marriage licenses and register births and deaths. They also issue titles and liens on boats, snowmobiles and ATVs. The biggest […]