Public Information

Iowa Supreme Court sides with county in Open Records Law lawsuit

BY: - December 19, 2022

The Iowa Supreme Court says a Polk County judge erred in ordering a sheriff’s department to release investigative material related to a fatal accident. The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by Michelle Vaccaro in an attempt to obtain government records dealing with the Polk County Sheriff’s Department and its investigation into a 2019 motorcycle […]

Cedar Falls won’t charge twice for access to officers’ body-cam video

BY: - December 9, 2022

The city of Cedar Falls has reversed its decision to charge the Iowa Capital Dispatch $700 for body-cam video of police officers clashing with an EMT on an emergency call. The reason: The EMT involved in the call has already paid the $700. Last week, the Capital Dispatch requested a copy of the video, noting […]

Citing prison-rape law, county says video of fired jailer is confidential

BY: - December 7, 2022

An Iowa County that is refusing to make public video of a jailer physically abusing an inmate is relying on a federal law that pertains to prison rape. State records show that Stephanie Cox worked for Pottawattamie County as a full-time detention officer until she was fired in September. On Aug. 8, Cox allegedly was […]

City wants $700 to disclose video of officers clashing with EMT

BY: - December 3, 2022

The city of Cedar Falls is charging $700 for public access to police body-camera footage that was provided to an area hospital at no cost. The video, shot on Aug. 3, allegedly shows police officers interacting with William Abernathey, who was then a critical-care paramedic for Sartori Memorial Hospital. Abernathey and the officers were at […]


Reynolds tries to dodge responsibility by arguing she lacks authority

BY: - November 21, 2022

Former President Harry S. Truman famously displayed a sign on his desk in the White House that proclaimed: “The buck stops here.” The sign was a notice that Truman was responsible for the decisions made in his administration – he wasn’t “passing the buck” to someone else. The buck is a hot potato in Gov. […]

Supreme Court hears arguments in wrongful-firing case against Reynolds

BY: - November 16, 2022

Lawyers for the state told the Iowa Supreme Court on Wednesday that it should reverse a lower court’s refusal to dismiss an alleged whistleblower’s wrongful-termination lawsuit against the governor. The lawsuit involves Polly Carver-Kimm, the former spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Public Health. Carver-Kimm was fired in 2020, and subsequently filed a lawsuit against […]


Secrecy isn’t how police build trust and respect

BY: - October 19, 2022

Middle ground is not something that often is seen nowadays in Iowa government or our politics. These days, candidates, elected officials and community members often are seen as flawed if they speak in favor of the middle ground. Case in point: Too many people have staked out extreme positions on one of the most important […]


Yearlong banishment from a public meeting isn’t ‘reasonable’

BY: - October 7, 2022

“Reasonable” is a word that is used often in Iowa’s laws. Reasonable fees. Reasonable rules. Reasonable efforts. Reasonable force. But events in recent weeks show government officials are not always following what many Iowans would think the term means. And when government officials deviate from “reasonable,” they should not be surprised if their standing or […]


Wise school leaders don’t keep the public in the dark about cybercrime

BY: - September 11, 2022

These days, I stand in front of audiences and engage in what is politely called “public speaking” more often than even Mr. Gentry ever imagined when I showed up at his office door 55 years ago with a bug-eyed expression of concern. Mr. Gentry was the guidance counselor at Davis County High School. He was […]

How to avoid an animal-welfare inspection in Iowa: Don’t answer the door

BY: - September 9, 2022

On Nov. 21, 2019, a state inspector named Wayne Grier visited an Ottumwa cat breeding operation called CelesTrail Cats to conduct a legally mandated annual inspection and to check on the welfare of the animals there. Grier couldn’t gain entry to the building and left. “Not available,” he wrote in his inspection report after driving […]

Public-records lawsuit against Sand is dismissed by court

BY: - September 6, 2022

An Iowa judge has dismissed a lawsuit alleging Open Records Law violations by Auditor of State Rob Sand. The court concluded the emails that a conservative law firm had sought to obtain “were properly maintained as confidential and withheld” from disclosure. The court granted Sand’s request for summary judgment, dismissing the case. “We are committed […]

Accused of sexual misconduct, physician assistant gives up Iowa license

BY: - September 5, 2022

One year after another state took action against him, a physician assistant accused of numerous acts of sexual misconduct has agreed to surrender his Iowa license. In February, the Iowa Board of Physician Assistants charged Jon Eason Perry of Roswell, New Mexico, with being subject to some form of undisclosed discipline by a licensing board […]