September 28, 2023, 8:18 pm
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General Information About Iowa Public Records and Laws
In Iowa, public records are available for most types of public information, government documents and other records. The Iowa Open Records Act, which is a part of the Iowa Code Chapter 22, provides information in terms of what the state defines as a public record and who has access to that information.
A public record in the state is any type of document, record, tape or other type of information that is stored or in some way preserved on any type of medium. This type of document comes from any of the state's counties, cities, townships, corporations, schools or even nonprofit corporations. Records from any of these agencies are open as public records if, in any way, public tax revenue supports it or in other indications. This means that most types of government records are available for use.
In addition to this, the following types of Iowa public records are available.
·         Vital statistics information, including birth and death certificates of state citizens, burial certificates, marriage licensing and divorce documentation.
·         County property transfers, including title changes, real estate liens, tax payments or other acts.
·         Most criminal and civil court records, with the exception of any material that is considered protected for some reason.
The state also has several limitations in terms of this information. Under Iowa public records laws, the following information is exempt.
·         All records that contain any information that would be in violation to a student or medial privacy laws
·         All attorney records
·         All government reports and records that would give an unfair competitive advantage
·         All trade secrets
·         All personal information for military or local government documents
·         All appraisal information in some cases
·         All library records that would indicate what type of material an individual has accessed.
Aside from this information, most other public records remain open for the budget to use. The state does not limit who can view this information. However, individuals are given the right to view or obtain a copy of the material through written request, unless the information is readily at hand.
There may be a fee associated to obtaining some records. If so, this fee is to be used to pay for administrative costs in regards to the obtaining of the records for viewing or printing.
Finding Iowa Public Records
Individuals who wish to obtain these records can do so in a number of ways. The most common way is to visit the local department office or other appropriate location and to request the information. It is also possible to conduct searches online through a third party. The following agencies manage some of the state's public records.
·         The Iowa Department of Public Health, Bureau of Vital Records manages all vital statistics.
·         For company or organization records, the Attorney General's Office provides help.
·         The Division of Criminal Investigation manages all criminal records.
Individuals seeking Iowa public records should note that this information is only available upon request and in some cases can take some time to produce.
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