Under Iowa's Open Records Law you are entitled upon request to receive all records, documents, tapes, or other information stored or preserved in any medium that belong to a governmental body, as well as “investment policies, instructions, trading orders, or contracts, whether in the custody of the public body responsible for the public funds or a fiduciary or other third party. Statutory exceptions do apply and are listed in Iowa Code Chapter 22.
Making an Open Records Request in Iowa
Similar to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the Iowa Open Records law requires the lawful custodian of public records to fulfill all requests, whether they are received in writing, by telephone, or by electronic means.
There are no specific forms or wording needed to make a request. However, the following information will help the government body comply with the records request:
Some agencies will ask for your name and identification before releasing a record. You have no legal obligation to comply. Iowa Code does not require the public to explain reasons for the request or divulge personal information when making an initial public record request.
Commonly Requested Public Records:
Some of the most commonly requested public records are listed below:
In some cases, fees for information searching and processing may be charged.
If a court finds a government body failed to comply with a request, 22.10 allows the court to either issue an injunction mandating compliance, fining the offending agency, and/or finding the records custodian guilty of a criminal misdemeanor.
There is no requirement in Iowa Code to create records. For example, data, but no document, may be available under open records laws.
Several exemptions are listed but other specific exemptions may apply elsewhere in the Code outside of Chapter 22.
Some records that will not be available to the public under open records laws include