Open Records in Iowa

Public records in Iowa are governed by the Iowa Code. The section that relates specifically to open records is Chapter 22 of the code: Examination of Public Records (Open Records).

 

How Iowa Defines a Public Record
Chapter 22 of the Iowa Code states that:

“Public records includes all records, documents, tape, or other information, stored or preserved in any medium, of or belonging to this state or any county, city, township, school corporation, political subdivision, nonprofit corporation other than a fair conducting a fair event as provided in chapter 174, whose facilities or indebtedness are supported in whole or in part with property tax revenue and which is licensed to conduct pari-mutuel wagering pursuant to chapter 99D, or tax-supported district in this state, or any branch, department, board, bureau, commission, council, or committee of any of the foregoing.”

It’s important to note that Chapter 22 defines a public record as documents or information “stored or preserved in any medium.” According to this definition, electronic records (such as email, website content, social media posts, and mobile text messages) would be included.

 

Social Media Guidance Documents

For insight into how website and social media content is viewed in relation to Chapter 22 of the Iowa Code, it is worth looking at the official Iowa.gov website and the social media policies outlined there. It states that:

“Please note that all content posted to this site is public information and available to everyone. If you post any personal content, you do so at your own risk.

“We are required to comply with Iowa Code Chapter 22 (Public Records Law) and ensure government is open and that the public has access to public records and information of which the State is the custodian. To that end, we automatically collect and store all information you post on this site. All information you post on this site may be subject to public disclosure under chapter 22, even if we have previously deleted it from the site for a violation of our Personal Conduct policy.”

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