‘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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Senate backs law on open records

From TheHawkEye.com:

The Iowa Senate unanimously approved an overhaul of the state's open meetings and records law Monday in a plan designed to offer greater public access to government.

The plan now goes to Gov. Terry Branstad, who has been supportive of the concept but hasn't signed off on details. The proposal comes after years of debate about enforcing laws giving the public access to government meetings and records.

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New agency to enforce open government OK’d

From DesMoinesRegister.com:

Iowa is getting a new state agency dedicated to enforcement of open government.

The Senate on Monday approved the bill, Senate File 430, on a 49-0 vote, sending the legislation to Gov. Terry Branstad, who championed the bill as one of his top legislative priorities this year.

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Legislature moves toward tougher open records law

From Radio Iowa:

An effort to put more teeth in Iowa’s “sunshine” laws is on Governor Branstad’s “must-do” list for legislators. “We feel strongly that’s something that’s needed,” Branstad says. “We need an enforcement mechanism for the open meetings/open records law. They should not adjourn without doing that.”

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