Rules of thumb for Chapter 22

For public servants:

1. Become familiar with the Act’s requirements. If you have questions about the application of the Act to records in your possession or under your control, address those questions to your legal counsel or the Iowa Public Information Board.

2. Assure that the Act’s requirements that public records be available for inspection and copying are satisfied.

3. Presume that all government records are open to public inspection and copying, unless they fall within the confidential records listed in Section 22.7 of the Act or other state or federal laws that provide confidentiality.

4. When denying access to any government record specify what section of the Code provides confidentiality.

For citizens seeking access to government records:

1. Identify as specifically as possible the record(s) you seek to inspect and/or copy.

2. If your request for access involves voluminous records, understand that some reasonable delay may be involved before the lawful custodian of the record(s) can provide all of the records requested and a suitable place where you may examine them.

3. If you anticipate that your request for access to records will be denied, you may want to make that request in writing, addressed to the lawful custodian of the record(s) sought, and request that the lawful custodian issue a written denial of access. In this way, you will create documentary evidence that your request for a government record was denied, and you will avoid confusion about whether the lawful custodian was delaying in order to seek an injunction against examination as allowed under Section 22.8 of the Act.

4. If you think you are being illegally denied a record, you can file a lawsuit in district court or file an informal or formal complaint with the Iowa Public Information Board.

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