Iowa Freedom of Information Council

COMMENTARY

Government cuts corners on public participation

BY: - July 16, 2021

Several times a week, someone contacts me because they had difficulty learning about a government meeting or ran into obstacles trying to get government records. These calls and emails to the Iowa Freedom of Information Council come more frequently than just a few years ago. This is a troubling trend because there is growing citizen […]

COMMENTARY

Locking out the public will not lead to healthy decisions on vaccine distribution

BY: - December 21, 2020

I wrote two weeks ago that the COVID-19 vaccination process “is too important for mere lip service in favor of the public’s right to know.” Unfortunately, our state’s leaders don’t agree. Iowans learned last week the public will be shut out of a government advisory board’s discussions on who should have priority access to the […]

Access to public health official’s emails will cost at least $8,000

BY: - July 14, 2020

The Iowa Department of Public Health is asking for at least $8,000 to publicly disclose two months’ worth of emails between the state medical director and a select group of other state officials. Last month, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported that emails obtained from a federal agency show that the state medical director, Dr. Caitlin […]

COMMENTARY

Information is as vital as face masks during COVID crisis

BY: - March 31, 2020

We have all become acutely aware in the past few weeks why masks and face shields, respirators and ventilators are so important for hospital workers and their patients. The supply is not keeping up with the need, and that could have dire consequences for the doctors, nurses and patients. Likewise, the coronavirus crisis has underscored […]

COMMENTARY

Don’t let the ‘new normal’ leave the public out of public business

BY: - March 30, 2020

The news that the State Capitol was closing to the public due to the coronavirus outbreak was just one in a stream of emails from government agencies over the past two weeks announcing they would be conducting the people’s business while temporarily ending the people’s access to public offices. Social distancing is important right now […]

The Raccoon River in the Des Moines area is among the most-polluted in the state.

Environmentalists wonder: Is state hiding bad nitrate news?

BY: - January 17, 2020

An annual report assessing the progress of the state’s voluntary Nutrient Reduction Strategy — the nucleus of Iowa’s water-quality efforts — is running late and stirring questions about worsening pollution. Staffers at the nonprofit Iowa Environmental Council said the report is months beyond the window in which it used to be released. They fear the […]

COMMENTARY

Legislature needs to fix the cost barrier for public records

BY: - January 16, 2020

There is a retired businessman in western Iowa who bristles every time he reads a newspaper article from somewhere in our state about government officials who have misused their government credit cards for unauthorized purchases. This man is worried such abuses could be happening at the local county hospital since top administrators were given credit […]