Iowa sunshine laws

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 […]

IWD director wants $3,846 for her emails, and says her text messages have been purged

BY: - June 7, 2021

After declining requests for an interview, the director of Iowa Workforce Development has responded to a request for her emails with an invoice for $3,846, while stating that her requested text messages have all been purged. The action comes just two weeks after IWD falsely claimed to have turned over another set of documents that […]

‘Total retaliation:’ City council curtails public notice of meetings, eliminates public forum

BY: - May 12, 2021

The small Iowa town that underwent legal training after violating Iowa’s public records law has now curtailed public access to city council agendas and meeting notices, and eliminated the public forum from its council meetings. The actions by the Otho city council come one month after council member Jimmy Beekman told city residents they “can […]

City council member: ‘You can stick that Sunshine Law where the sun don’t shine’

BY: - April 30, 2021

A council member in a tiny Iowa town that admitted violating Iowa’s public records law has told townspeople they can “stick that Sunshine Law where the sun don’t shine.” The comments, by Otho council member Jimmy Beekman, were made at an April 13 council meeting, one month after the council agreed to undergo training in […]

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 […]

nterior of an empty courtroom with gavel and sounding block on the desk.

Sioux City lawyer faces sanctions for alleged witness intimidation and dishonesty

BY: - February 22, 2021

A Sioux City attorney accused of witness intimidation and repeated acts of dishonesty is facing a possible suspension of his law license. Court records indicate attorney Harold K. Widdison is facing sanctions for actions related to court proceedings that grew out of his divorce in 2014. In 2016, Widdison filed a motion to modify a […]

Capital Dispatch files open-records complaint against agency

BY: - January 23, 2020

Iowa Capital Dispatch has filed a complaint with the Iowa Public Information Board about a state agency’s public-access policies. Iowa Workforce Development requires individuals who request a document to submit their request in writing and to send it through an online portal that warns them various records are confidential and obtainable only with a subpoena […]