Iowa stymies public information requests in pandemic

COVID-19 has Iowans wanting more information from federal, state and local governments to guide life-or-death decisions raised by the unprecedented pandemic.

Is it safe to go to the store? Do masks prevent spread of the virus? Should my kids go to school in the fall?

At a time when Iowans need accurate and complete information, some state agencies, including the Governor’s Office, are ignoring questions from reporters, refusing to do interviews and stalling on public records requests — sometimes for months, Iowa journalists said.

“I’ve heard from newspapers and TV stations that are at the end of their rope,” said Randy Evans, executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council. State agencies are “facing legitimate concerns about coronavirus, but they are seemingly using it as a means of deflecting public records requests.” (read more)