House Wants Open Records Training for Local Officials

by Brian Wilson
0 comment

The Iowa House has voted to increase the fines for violating Iowa’s open meetings law. The House bill would require government officials to complete a course that explains Iowa’s open meetings and open records law within 90 days of being elected to public office or appointed to a board. Representative Brent Siegrist of Council Bluffs says public officials need to understand the state’s sunshine law and make sure it’s followed.

Representative Gary Mohr of Bettendorf is the bill’s sponsor.

Mohr also cites a lawsuit accusing the City of Davenport of violating Iowa’s open meetings requirement by reaching settlements with three city employees without the city council’s approval. Mohr quoted the late Bill Wundrum, a long time columnist for the Quad City Times as he urged his colleagues to act.

The bill passed on a 92-to-two vote. If the Senate agrees to the policy and the governor signed it into law, Siegrist expects some local officials to complain about the required training.

The Iowa Freedom of Information Council and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa are the only groups that have registered on the legislature’s website as supporting the bill, while a number of groups representing government officials have checked the undecided box. The Iowa Association of School Boards is the only group on record opposing the bill.

You may also like