I have serious reservations about the new Iowa Public Information Board.
First, the Legislature took away most of the public’s right to get access to “draft” documents in trade for the Public Information Board. This wasn’t right. Iowans’ taxes pay for “draft” documents and it’s likely we’ll see governments labeling too many documents “draft” to avoid having to turn them over to the public upon request. The right to review draft documents needs to be immediately restored. For this reason alone, I’m unconvinced getting a Public Information Board was worth the trade-off.
Second, if two unrelated individuals are seeking the same documents and one chooses the Public Information Board and one chooses court, the one who chooses court will have to wait while the Public Information Board handles the other case. If the board makes a decision that documents do not have to be released, it will be too difficult to get this decision overturned because the standard of review is very harsh, even if the board made the wrong decision. This isn’t right either.
Third, Iowans are very nice people and I don’t want to end up with board members who are too sympathetic or who become friends with the government officials they are supposed to be regulating over time.
Board members are going to have to make sure the law is scrupulously followed. Otherwise, it will be a failure.
Comments are closed.