Budget Negotiations, TIF and Open Meetings/Open Records

by Davis Brown Law Firm

The session continues into extra innings following its scheduled end on April 17. No budget agreement had been reached on the “big number” for the overall State budget, so conference committees could not meet to negotiate. Most House members were sent home early and left the building Wednesday. At this point those in the lobby (and probably a lot of legislators) are hoping the session does not continue through much of the summer like last year. At the end of the week, one Capitol rumor was that an overall budget number was loosely agreed to but the House and Senate do not have agreement on how the funds should be appropriated. If this is true, conference committees could begin working early in the week. The end could come quickly once a deal on the budget is reached, with one or more of the large policy issues deferred until the next General Assembly. We will keep you posted.

The Senate passed its version of tax increment finance (TIF) reform. The Senate bill focused largely on new reporting requirements, “anti-piracy” language and transparency measures. The amended bill stripped out many of the House provisions chambers, developers and cities opposed. It passed on a 26-22 vote along party lines—only this time the parties took the opposite positions they did in the House with Republicans locking up against the bill and the Senate Democrats voting for it. This has been an interesting and unusual political issue  to  watch unfold. The bill now goes back to the House and is on the debate calendar for Monday. It is unclear whether the House will concur with what  it consider the much weaker Senate version.

The “storm chaser” bill SF466 took another procedural step this week, although not exactly the one the property and casualty insurance companies hoped for, when the House refused to concur with the Senate amendment that makes clear the Attorney General’s powers under the state’s consumer fraud laws. If the Senate takes the bill up to insist, the bill would go to a conference committee to resolve the differences between the two versions. Negotiations continue between the involved parties, who hope to resolve the issue before time runs out this session.

Legislation to create a new open meetings/open records advisory board, championed by the Iowa Newspaper Association for six consecutive sessions, passed the Senate clearing its final hurdle before going to the Governor. SF430 creates the nine-member Iowa Public Information Board. The Board will consist of one representative each from the Iowa League of Cities, the Iowa State Association of Counties and the Iowa School Board Association, three media representatives and three citizen members. Board members will be appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate. There can be no more than three local government and three media representatives among the appointees. There will also be an executive director who will serve as the attorney for the Board.

The new Board has significant powers including:

  • Rulemaking and enforcement authority over Chapters 21 and 22 the open meetings and open records chapters of Iowa Code
    • The ability to investigate complaints, request and view records at issue, determine facts, issue subpoenas and hold contested case proceedings
    • The power to impose a penalty for violations of the open meetings/records laws, with increased fines for elected officials where the board finds that the violation was made knowingly or willfully
    • Issue advisory opinions when requested

Interestingly, the Board will not have powers over the state legislature or the Governor’s office.

Over the many years this issue had been discussed, local governments, regents institutions, and even the attorney general’s office had concerns over this type of board with enforcement powers.  Proponents argued that there should be an agency where any person can file a complaint alleging a violation of open meetings or open records laws and have them enforced.

The final bill has an added twist with a provision which gives confidential records protection for drafts or preliminary versions of documents prior to their official use.

“Sec. ___. Section 22.7, Code Supplement 2011, is amended by adding the following new subsection:

NEW SUBSECTION . 65. Tentative, preliminary, draft, speculative, or research material, prior to its completion for the purpose for which it is intended and in a form prior to the form in which it is submitted for use or used in the actual formulation, recommendation, adoption, or execution of any official policy or action by a public official authorized to make such decisions for the governmental body or the government body. This subsection shall not apply to public records that are actually submitted for use or are used in the formulation, recommendation, adoption, or execution of any official policy or action of a governmental body or a government body by a public official authorized to adopt or execute official policy for the governmental body or the government body.”

Some in the media are already saying this provision will be abused and will have to be tested in court.

Thomas E. Stanberry & Jessica S. Harder
Government Relations Report

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Davis Brown Law Firm | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Davis Brown Law Firm

Davis Brown Law Firm on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.