Government losing sight of serving the public

Randy Evans, executive directorIowa Freedom of Information Council This article is free to use and publish in your publication. Several times a week, someone reaches out to 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…

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Government needs room for common sense

Randy Evans, executive directorIowa Freedom of Information Council This article is free to use and publish in your publication. People like to talk about what the law says. And in Iowa, the law has a lot to say.  Just look at the Iowa Code. It now fills eight volumes and costs $295 for a complete set.…

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Charter schools must have sunshine, too

Randy Evans, executive directorIowa Freedom of Information Council This article is free to use and publish in your publication. The 2021 session of the Iowa Legislature will end in a few weeks, and one big issue moving toward a final vote would make charter schools easier to create as an alternative to the traditional K-12 public…

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How you can still lose while winning in court

Randy Evans, executive directorIowa Freedom of Information Council This article is free to use and publish in your publication. 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…

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Iowa should stop keeping police discipline secret

Randy Evans, executive directorIowa Freedom of Information Council This article is free to use and publish in your publication. 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…

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Repeat after me: Let the public know

This article is free to use and publish in your publication.  Randy Evans, executive directorIowa Freedom of Information Council 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…

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No justification for shutting the public out

This article is free to use and publish in your publication.  Randy Evans, executive director Iowa Freedom of Information Council 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…

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State Fair meeting was affront to open government

Randy Evans, executive directorIowa Freedom of Information Council The decision last week to cancel the Iowa State Fair was a reminder of the seriousness of coronavirus and the consequences of many people’s anxiety about returning to activities that normally are an important part of Iowa life. But the State Fair’s decision also illuminated an embarrassing…

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