Iowa Public Information Board

John Pemble/IPR file photo

The Iowa Supreme Court has closed a potential loophole that would have made it significantly easier for government officials to deliberate in private. In a four-to-three ruling, the high court says that government officials can’t skirt Iowa’s open meetings law by deliberating public policy through an agent.

Flickr / Steven Brewer

The Iowa Supreme Court is expected this morning to release a decision that could severely weaken Iowa’s open meetings law. The justices must decide if sending messages through an employee, the Warren County Board of Supervisors were still holding a "meeting," as defined under Iowa code.  

What happened?

In March 2014, the Warren County Board of Supervisors laid off 12 county employees.

Flickr / Ken Lund

Friday morning, the Iowa Supreme Court is expected to release a decision that could dramatically weaken Iowa’s open meeting’s law.

Two years ago the Warren County Board of Supervisors decided to lay off 12 county employees.

The three-member panel did not deliberate in person or through email. Rather they reached their unanimous decision by having the county administrator relay messages among the three board members. 

By communicating this way, the board supervisors hoped to skirt the state’s open meeting’s law.

Flickr / mcfarlandmo

Today marks the beginning of “Sunshine Week", an observation of the public’s right to access information. The Iowa Freedom of Information Council is reminding officials that a higher level of transparency is part of the territory that comes with holding elected office.

United States Geological Survey

After a closed session meeting, the Iowa Public Information Board voted to wait until at least September to decide whether to release material related to the police shooting death of a Burlington woman.

In early January, Burlington police officer Jesse Hill accidentally killed 34-year-old Autumn Steele when answering a domestic violence call.

Steele’s dog attacked Hill. He fired his weapon attempting to hit the animal. But instead Officer Hill fatally shot Steele in the chest.