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Documents presented in public meeting become public records


Documents presented in public meeting become public records

Q: Does discussing and viewing a document at a public meeting make that document a public record?

A: On Nov. 19, the Iowa Public Information Board issued an Advisory Opinion, IPIB AO 2015-08, addressing this issue. The text of that opinion reads: “The issue was recently raised concerning whether discussing and making viewable a document at a public meeting made the document a public record. We are of the opinion that a document that is discussed and made viewable to the public at a public meeting makes the document a “public record” that shall not be treated as confidential under Iowa Code section 22.7. We note there are times when a confidential record is discussed or referenced at a public meeting. We do not deem such situations as removing the confidential nature of the record. Rather, this opinion applies solely to situations when the document is also made viewable or accessible to the public at the meeting.”

The IPIB also stated: “We note at the outset that IPIB’s jurisdiction is limited to the application of Iowa Code chapters 21, 22, and 23, and rules in Iowa Administrative Code chapter 497. Advice in a Board opinion, if followed, constitutes a defense to a subsequent complaint based on the same facts and circumstances.”

Iowa Public Information Board

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