The public does have a right to know

The 2017 session of the Iowa Legislature has been focused more on government secrecy than any session in many years.

Lawmakers have been moving to make Iowa’s casinos subject to less public scrutiny.

Lawmakers are moving to cut off public access to government records, such as pay, pertaining to undercover law officers.

A proposal to seal many 911 calls as “medical records” — and, potentially, some police body camera and dash camera videos, too, for the same reason — is awaiting debate in the Iowa Senate.

A late proposal would keep most people from inspecting vital records — birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, and divorce decrees — in their local county recorder’s office.

And an especially troubling proposal would make secret the names of people who volunteer to work in the public schools and for other units of government.

That proposal appears to be dead for this session. But until the Legislature adjourns for the year, no proposal truly is dead.

Here is a column about the volunteer secrecy issue that appeared in several Iowa newspapers. The column was written by Randy Evans, executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council.  StrayThoughts_115

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