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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Iowa kicks off FOI reform...

Efforts kick into high gear this week to strengthen Iowa's open-meetings and open-records laws and to force governments to abandon practices that skirt the requirements.

On the table for scrutiny is every piece of Iowa law that is intended to maintain transparent government as a way to protect taxpayers from abuse and scandal.

"Frankly, there's been a number of abuses in a number of venues and that begs for change," said state Sen. Michael Connolly, a Dubuque Democrat.

Connolly is co-chairman of a legislative committee that will hold its first hearing Thursday to review open-meetings and open-records laws.

The group will examine problems in the law and listen to groups such as the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and the Iowa Citizens' Aide/Ombudsman's Office.

"One problem we need to figure out how to address is ensuring that public employees receive sufficient training in what the law is so they don't make mistakes because of ignorance," said Kathleen Richardson, who heads the Iowa Freedom of Information Council. "A lot of the problems also involve the fact that there is widespread lack of will in officials to enforce the law."

More here.

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