National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Iowa FOIA Laws

Iowa Open Meetings Law

The Iowa Open Meetings Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. The law defines a meeting as any gathering, formal or informal, where a majority of the members of a public body have the intention of deliberating or deciding upon public issues. Exemptions include gatherings for social purposes, gatherings where no public business is discussed, or collective bargaining planning.

If the Iowa Open Meetings Law is violated members can assess fines of $100-$500. The court can choose to void any action taken during an illegal meeting or remove from office any individuals who have three separate violations.

Open Meetings Law Iowa Code §21.1 et seq.
Closed: 12 exemptions, check code citation.

Iowa Open Records Law

The Iowa Open Records Law is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels. The law includes all records of government agencies except where the documents have been deemed confidential. Exemptions include:

  • Personal information on accepted students, current students, and past students
  • Medical records
  • Trade Secrets
  • Records of attorneys who represent the state
  • Reports that result in unfair competition
  • Appraisal information for public land purchases
  • Criminal files
  • Military confidential records
  • Personal information in records of employees and elected officials of public agencies
  • Library records
  • Information on the donors of charitable contributions
  • Corrections department information that would jeopardize security.
  • Communications made to the government but not required by statute
  • Examinations
  • Archaeological and historical ecologically sensitive material locations and information
  • Marketing and advertising budgets and strategies for non-profits
  • Information maintained by mediators employed to solve the disputes with government agencies

Anyone can request public records and the law does not require a statement of purpose for records requests. There are no restrictions for use of the records in the law and you must allow 10-20 days for a record request response to be completed.

Open Records Law Iowa Code §22.1 et seq.
State access law has 73 exemptions including personal information of public school students, hospital and medical records, trade secrets, peace officers’ investigative reports, and attorney work related to litigation.

Visit, Iowa Sample FOIA Request, to view a sample FOIA request for the state.