“Skillful” First Amendment attorney from Iowa is 2017 Inductee to the State Open Government Hall of Fame

Michael Giudicessi, a partner in the Des Moines office of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP was selected as the 2017 inductee into the “Heroes of the 50 States: State Open Government Hall of Fame.” Each year, the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC), in collaboration with the Society of Professional Journalists, solicits nominations for First Amendment “heroes” whose…

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NFOIC’s State FOIA Friday for November 22, 2013

From NFOIC:  A few state FOIA and local open government news items selected from many of interest that we might or might not have drawn attention to earlier in the week. While you're at it, be sure to check out State FOIA Friday Archives.

Minnesota high court: Business not subject to open-records laws

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Sheriff turns emails over to feds after Story County resists

From Des Moines Register: Story County Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald has provided more than 7,100 of his emails to a federal agency as part of a legal dispute with the U.S. government that involves a $7 billion wireless first-responder network.

Fitzgerald has alleged the network is being improperly or unethically commissioned, court documents show.

Visit Des Moines Register for more.

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Mystery of missing records taints Iowa hazing case

From Des Moines Register: State officials say key performance and disciplinary records from the Department of Public Safety’s 2008 training academy have gone missing from a locked storage unit — a development that has undermined the investigation of a hazing incident that year.

Academy instructors said the records, including detailed notes on the 32 graduates’ progress during the 20-week program, were boxed and stored at DPS headquarters in Des Moines alongside similar records from prior academies.

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Iowa Freedom of Information Council: Iowa more open with public information

From press-citizen.com: The Iowa Freedom of Information Council released its annual “State of Freedom of Information in Iowa” report at its annual business meeting Thursday in Iowa City, detailing a slew of public information developments over the last year.

Most notably, the Iowa Public Information Board began full operations in July. The board meets monthly to review complaints from citizens who say their requests for public information have been wrongly denied.

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Editorial: Iowa personnel records law needs review

From Dubuque Telegraph Herald:  When an individual makes an abrupt departure from a job within a public institution, those in charge will usually avoid discussing the circumstances of the departure with one simple claim: "It's a personnel issue. And personnel records can't be released to the public."

Only, that might not be quite accurate. The way Iowa Code chapter 22.7 is written, it can be interpreted to allow for the custodian of a record to use his or her discretion when it comes to the release of personnel information.

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NFOIC’s State FOIA Friday for December 28, 2012

State FOIA Friday News A few state FOIA and local open government news items selected from many of interest that we might or might not have drawn attention to earlier in the week:

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Universities inconsistent on student privacy

From Press-citizen.com:

The Press-Citizen was one of several media outlets in August who made a public records request from the University of Iowa for the application records of James Holmes — the University of Colorado neuroscience student suspected of the July mass shooting in Aurora, Colo.

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‘Walking quorums’ block Iowa government openness

From Press-citizen.com:

During the Sept. 18 open government workshop with the Iowa Newspaper Association, local citizens learned much about how to use the state’s public records and open meetings laws to hold their officials accountable. But the existing laws have one major weakness: they still allow circumvention through a process called “walking quorums.”

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ACLU sues Des Moines schools for records from closed Nancy Sebring meeting

From Des Moines Register:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa today filed a lawsuit to force the Des Moines school district to provide materials from a May 10 meeting closed to the public, after which the school board voted to accept the resignation of former superintendent Nancy Sebring.

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