Iowa Public Information Board

The Iowa Senate has passsed HF777, a bill that creates an Iowa Public Information Board to help Iowans pursue complaints about access to public records or government meetings, without having to hire an attorney.  Senate Majority Leader  Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs says legislators have tried to “find a way to create a body to help ordinary citizens gain access public records.”

The bill passed on a 35 to 13 vote.  Senator Matt McCoy (D-Des Moines) sat at his desk in the senate, but did not vote for or againt the legislation.  A few moments ago, he described that as a sort of “protest.” 

“I am so torn because my local government officials tell me it is almost impossible to live under the law and not break the law innocently,” McCoy said.  McCoy also suggested the legislature hasn’t done enough to ensure its own operations are conducted in public and not behind closed doors.  He cited the increased frequency of what are called “caucuses.”  Caucuses are meetings in which members of one political party stop the action of a public meeting (or public debate) and go into a private meeting.

The next stop for HF777 is the Iowa House which must consider changes senators made in the legislation.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.