Public Information


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 […]

State isn’t collecting vaccine-refusal data from Iowa nursing homes

BY: - March 20, 2021

The Iowa Department of Public Health isn’t collecting data on vaccine refusal rates in Iowa’s 440 nursing homes, the department director said this week. In January, the Iowa Capital Dispatch asked the state public health department for information detailing the vaccine refusal and acceptance rates among workers in each of the state’s 440 privately run […]

Grassley renews call for cameras in federal court

BY: - March 17, 2021

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on Wednesday said he will renew his call to allow cameras in federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Grassley made the comments in conjunction with “Sunshine Week,” which promotes open access to government meetings and records. “I’m renewing my efforts to allow cameras in federal courts,” Grassley told reporters. […]


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 Capital Dispatch files second complaint over access to COVID-19 data

BY: - March 15, 2021

The Iowa Capital Dispatch has filed its second complaint this month with the Iowa Public Information Board, alleging state officials are withholding additional data related to COVID-19. In March 5, the Capital Dispatch complained to IPIB that the Iowa Department of Public Health was denying access to a list showing all of the coronavirus outbreaks […]

Iowa Capital Dispatch files public-records complaint over COVID-19 outbreak information

BY: - March 5, 2021

The Iowa Capital Dispatch has filed a formal complaint with the Iowa Public Information Board over access to a state report detailing COVID-19 outbreaks in the state’s 440 nursing homes. On Dec. 9, the news organization asked the Iowa Department of Public Health for an updated list showing all of the coronavirus outbreaks in Iowa […]

State tries to block a hearing over how it spent $4.8 million on election integrity

BY: - March 5, 2021

An Iowa county auditor who questioned how the state was spending millions of dollars earmarked for election integrity is now pursuing the matter in court. In July 2019, Linn County Auditor Joel Miller, a Democrat, filed a public-records request with Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, a Republican. Miller noted that in 2018 the state’s […]

Chapman: ‘Shameful’ censorship by tech giants should ban them from contracts, aid in Iowa

BY: - February 24, 2021

Legislation that would ban state and local government contracts or aid for tech companies that censor online content could endanger economic development and disrupt operations across universities and school districts, critics told lawmakers Wednesday.  The legislation, Senate File 402, was introduced by Senate President Jake Chapman, R-Adel, and 29 colleagues. It advanced to the full […]

Bill would remove the names of judges, police and prosecutors from online records

BY: - February 16, 2021

Iowa counties would have to develop a process for removing the names of judges, prosecutors and police from public records that are posted online if a bill now being considered by state lawmakers becomes law. Members of the public would be billed for the expense of creating that process through an additional fee they’d be […]


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 […]


Iowa Capital Dispatch celebrates 1st birthday: No cake, just big scoops

BY: - January 4, 2021

This week marks the first birthday of Iowa Capital Dispatch. We don’t have any cake but we’ve served up lots of big scoops. Hard to believe it’s been a whole year. Equally hard to believe it’s been only a year. We knew when we pushed the button to publish our first stories on Jan. 7, […]


There’s no justification for government shutting the public out

BY: - December 30, 2020

There are some high-minded legal principles written into Iowa laws and rulings by our state’s Supreme Court. But in recent weeks, one of those sound principles has run into a few closed-minded state officials and the closed doors of government. Some officials prefer to conduct the people’s business without being bothered with having the pesky […]