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The Iowa Open Records Law, Iowa Code §22.1 et seq., is a collection of laws designed to control public records and access to them. They define public records as "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. "Public records" also include all records relating to the investment of public funds, including but not limited to investment policies, instructions, trading orders, or contracts, whether in the custody of the public body responsible for the public funds or a fiduciary or other third party."
Government agencies like the Secretary of State, the Attorney General's Office, the courts, and law enforcement are some of the types of agents who create, store, and maintain public records in the state of Iowa.
Iowa's Open Records Law states that "Every person shall have the right to examine and copy a public record and to publish or otherwise disseminate a public record or the information contained in a public record. Unless otherwise provided for by law, the right to examine a public record shall include the right to examine a public record without charge while the public record is in the physical possession of the custodian of the public record."
The State of Iowa Office of the Chief Information Officer is the government entity that manages public records requests. However, they do recommend that you contact the actual agency you need the records from. There is a search form on the website, but they also allow requests via mail.
The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, State Historical Society of Iowa is the agency that collects, stores, and maintains historical public records. They encourage research and the public to request copies of records for many purposes. Some of the collections they keep are maps, newspapers, census records, county records, photographs, vital records, state archives, and many other types of documents and materials.
The Iowa Public Information Board has a simple records request form on its website that you can use to request records. You can customize it to fit your needs and send it to the State of Iowa Office of the Chief Information Officer. They also recommend that you contact each state and local government agency directly to request records. Each office may have a different format or process for requesting records, and they all charge fees for copies of records.
Iowa's Division of Criminal Investigation handles criminal records requests by mail or fax. You can also request records in person. They charge a $15 fee for each criminal history they provide. They will only release convicted offender information and only for persons 18 years or older.
Some common types of criminal records in Iowa include (but are not limited to):
Court records in Iowa are created, stored, and shared by the Iowa Judicial Branch. The state of Iowa is heavy into transparency, and they offer up court records readily to the general public. On their website, they have explicit instructions on how to request records. They try to make it as easy as possible. They do charge fees for copies of records, but those are clearly listed on the website as well.
Some types of court records in Iowa are:
Courts in Iowa are organized in three levels starting with the Supreme Court, then the Court of Appeals, and then the District Court.
Iowa arrest records are available through the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. They supply criminal histories for convicted offenders. To get fresh arrest records, you can contact local or state law enforcement. You may also check the Iowa Department of Corrections website to search for convicted felons currently in prison. Court records in Iowa is another good resource to check for arrest records.
Some different types of arrests records in Iowa are:
Iowa Department of Public Health is the government entity in charge of all vital records for the state. They keep records for births, deaths, marriages, and divorces. Their website boasts that "The bureau registers approximately 100,000 events and issues about 85,000 certified copies annually." They can also supply adoption information and make corrections to incorrect records. They offer copies of certificates upon request for a fee. They offer up an email address and phone number that you can use to call with any questions.
Along with criminal, court, arrest, and vital records, property records in Iowa are also public. Here are the others:
According to the Iowa Open Records Law, "The Law includes all records of government agencies except where the documents have been deemed confidential. Exemptions include: