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Iowa Public Records

The Iowa Open Records Act (Iowa Code Chapter 22) provides definitions and exemptions for what constitutes public records, who may access them and what the agency's responsibilities are for holding and providing records that are requested.  'Public Record' is defined 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 ... 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" and includes “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.” Iowa Code § 22.1 (2009)."

Exceptions include:

  • Records that disclosure would constitute a violation of personal privacy such as student or medical records
  • Trade Secrets that are protected by law
  • Attorney records
  • Police records pertaining to an open investigation
  • Government reports that would give unfair competitive advantage
  • Appraisals or appraisal information prior to final purchase as disclosure might obstruct procurement
  • Personal information held in personnel records of military or local government files, as it would violate personal privacy
  • Financial statements submitted to DoA by grain dealers, warehouses or those applying for license in this field
  • Library records that would indicate who has had access to certain materials

The Iowa code also provides for fees to be charged for delivery on records requests:

The fee for copying service shall not exceed the actual cost of providing the service. “Actual costs” shall include only those expenses directly attributable to supervising the examination of and making and providing copies of public records. “Actual costs” shall not include charges for ordinary expenses or costs such as employment benefits, depreciation, maintenance, electricity, or insurance associated with the administration of the office of the lawful custodian.

The fee may include a retrieval fee to cover the costs of retrieving public records, but this fee may not be charged to a member of a government body to inspect records which the member has a right to see in the capacity of a member of the government body.

Iowa Public Records FAQ

Records Commission

Requests should be made with the public records officer at the appropriate agency. For Agency listing and Contacts, see below.

Brief History of Iowa

Prior to early European exploration, there were many native tribes living in the land that became Iowa. These tribes had long established farming settlements with complex economic, social, and political systems. It is thought that the peoples entered the area nearly 13,000 years ago and the society became more sedentary as the population and technology evolved. The arrival of new tribes and European explorers resulted in dramatic population shifts and social and economic turmoil. This was because new trade goods and diseases were introduced, having a deep effect on the local landscape. By the time the Europeans appeared, there were numerous native tribes including the Dakota, Ho-Chunk, Ioway, Otoe, Illiniwek, Meskwaki, Omaha, and Sauk.

The first documented Europeans to explore Iowa were Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet in 1673 as they travelled the Mississippi river on a mapping expedition. Iowa spent it's early colonization period under French rule until 1763 when the French gave the land to Spain once they realized defeat in the French and Indian War.

Under pressure from Napoleon Bonaparte in 1800, France and Spain entered into the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso in which Spain relinquished control of Iowa and the other land that made up French Colonial Louisiana back to France. In 1803, Iowa was placed under US control with the Louisiana purchase.

Early US control over the land was plagued with conflict between US military sent to control trade and establish US dominance and the Sauk and ho-Chunk peoples who had not abandoned their own claim to the lands. After the War of 1812, and the Black Hawk war of 1832, the US renewed efforts for Indian Removal and pushed most natives out of Iowa as well as the rest of the American Mid-West.

Shortly thereafter, the first official US settlements sprang up and the land became the Territory of Iowa in 1838. Iowa Became a state in 1846 making it the 29th to join the Union.

The early economy of Iowa was based mainly in lead mining and furs and trade occurred mainly on the Des Moines and Missouri rivers. In the mid to late 1800's, with the advent of the railroad system, Iowa's economy evolved to become a major agricultural producer allowing the crops to be sold to distant markets. This industry was only helped by the increased need created by WWI, and related and supporting industries also popped up to increase agricultural production; farm equipment and related technologies, etc.

The Great Depression, WWII and the farm crisis of the 1980s have lead Iowa to diversify it's output and today Iowa has a mix of manufacturing, biotechnology, finance and insurance services, and government services. In fact, manufacturing is the largest segment of Iowa's economy today, accounting for nearly 22% of the total GSP, and around 16% of the workforce. Companies here include ConAgra Foods, Wells Blue Bunny, Barilla, Heinz, Wonder Bread/Hostess Snack Cakes, Tone’s Spices, General Mills, and Quaker Oats. Major non-food advanced manufacturing firms with production facilities in Iowa include 3M, ALCOA, Amana Corporation, Dexter Apache Holdings, Inc., Electrolux/Frigidaire, Emerson Process, Fisher Controls International, HON Industries, IPSCO Steel, John Deere, Lennox Manufacturing, Maytag Corporation, Pella Corporation, Rockwell Collins, Vermeer Company, and Winnebago Industries.

Iowa Government Info

The government model that the State government of Iowa follows is the 3 branch, bicameral legislative model used by the US federal government.

State Agencies Full List

Office of the Governor and Lt. Governor
State Capitol
Des Moines, IA 50319
515-281-5211

Legislative Branch

Iowa Legislature
mailing address:
State Capitol Building
East 12th & Grand
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

Senate Switchboard - 515-281- 3371

House Switchboard - 515-281-3221

Legislative Information Office, Room G16, Capitol - 515- 281- 5129

Fiscal Services Division
Ground Floor, Capitol
515-281-5279 | Fax 515-281-8451

Legal Services Division
Ground Floor, Capitol
515-281-3566 | Fax 515-281-8027

Computer Services Division
Second Floor, Miller Bldg.
515-281-6766 | Fax 515-281-6625

Iowa Code Office
Third Floor, Miller Bldg.
515-281-5279 | Fax 515-281-8451

Administrative Code Office
Third Floor, Miller Bldg.
515-281-5279 | Fax 515-281-8451

Legislature Archives

JUDICIAL BRANCH

Guide to understanding Iowa's Courts

Iowa Judiciary

Online Iowa Docket Search

Iowa Supreme Court
Iowa Judicial Branch Building
1111 East Court Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319
515/281-5911 (Clerk of Court)

Iowa Court of Appeals
Iowa Judicial Branch Building
1111 East Court Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319
515/281-5221
515/281-5911 (Clerk of Court)

DISTRICT COURTS

District 1

District Court Administrator
Black Hawk County Courthouse
316 East 5th Street
Waterloo, IA 50702
319-833-3332 

COUNTIES SERVED: Allamakee, Black Hawk, Buchanan, Chickasaw, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Grundy, Howard, Winneshiek

District 2

District Court Administrator
220 N. Washington Ave.
Mason City, IA 50401
641-494-3611

COUNTIES SERVED:  Boone, Bremer, Butler, Calhoun, Carroll, Cerro Gordo, Floyd, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Humboldt, Marshall, Mitchell, Pocahontas, Sac, Story, Webster, Winnebago, Worth, Wright

District 3

District Court Administrator
Woodbury County Courthouse
7th and Douglas, Room 210
Sioux City, IA 51101
712-279-6035 

COUNTIES SERVED:  Buena Vista, Cherokee, Clay, Crawford, Dickinson, Emmet, Ida, Lyon, Kossuth, Monona, O'Brien, Osceola, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Sioux, Woodbury

District 4

District Court Administrator
P.O. Box 935, 227 S. 6th St. 4th Floor
Council Bluffs, IA 51501
712-328-5733

COUNTIES SERVED:  Audubon, Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie, Shelby

District 5

District Court Admin.
Polk County Courthouse
500 Mulberry Street,
Room 411
Des Moines, IA 50309
515-286-3198 

COUNTIES SERVED:  Adair, Adams, Clarke, Dallas, Decatur, Guthrie, Jasper, Lucas, Madison, Marion, Polk, Ringgold, Taylor, Union, Warren, Wayne

District 6

District Court Administrator
Linn County Courthouse
P.O. Box 5488
Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-5488
319-398-3920, ext. 1100

COUNTIES SERVED:  Benton, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Tama 

District 7

District Court Administrator
Scott County Courthouse
416 West 4th Street
Davenport, IA 52801
563-326-8783

COUNTIES SERVED:  Cedar, Clinton, Jackson, Muscatine, Scott

District 8

District Court Administrator
211 East 4th, Box 1319
Ottumwa, IA 52501
641-684-6502

COUNTIES SERVED:  Appanoose, Davis, Des Moines, Henry, Jefferson, Keokuk, Lee, Louisa, Mahaska, Monroe, Poweshiek, Van Buren, Wapello, Washington

EXECUTIVE BRANCH

Iowa State Attorney General

Iowa Attorney General
1305 E. Walnut Street
Des Moines IA 50319
515-281-5164 | Fax 515-281-4209

Consumer Protection Division
1305 E. Walnut Street
Des Moines IA 50319
515-281-5926 | 1-888-777-4590
Fax 515-281-6771

Crime Victim Assistance Division
321 E. 12th
Lucas Building, Ground Floor
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
515-281-5044 | 1-800-373-5044
Fax 515-281-8199

Environmental & Farm Divisions
Lucas State Office Bldg.
321 E. 12th Street
Ground Floor, Room 018
Des Moines, IA 50319
515/281-5351 | Fax 515/242-6072

Department of Corrections

Offender Search

510 East 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
515-725- 5701

Correctional Facilities and Districts

First Judicial District Dept. of Correctional Services
314 East Sixth Street
P. O. Box 4030
Waterloo, IA 50704-4030
319-236-9626 | Fax 319-291-3947

Second Judicial District Dept. of Correctional Services
510 Fifth Street
P. O. Box 623
Ames, IA 50010-0623
515-232-1511 | Fax 515-232-9453
Fort Dodge Correctional Facility 515-574-4700
North Central Correctional Facility 712-297-7521

Third Judicial District Dept. of Correctional Services
515 Water Street
Sioux City, IA 51103
712-252-0590 | Fax 712-252-0634

Fourth Judicial District Dept. of Correctional Services
801 South Tenth Street
Council Bluffs, IA 51501
712-325-4943 | Fax 712-325-0312
Clarinda Correctional Facility 712- 542-5634

Fifth Judicial District Dept. of Correctional Services
604 Locust Street,
Equitable Building, Suite 317
Des Moines, IA 50309
515-280-4220 | Fax 515/280-4259
Iowa Correctional Institution for Women 515- 967-4236
Newton Correctional Facility (641) 792-7552

Sixth Judicial District Dept. of Correctional Services
William G. Faches Center
951 - 29th Avenue, SW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
319-398-3675 | Fax 319-398-3684
Anamosa State Penitentiary 319-462-3504
Iowa Medical and Classification Center 319-626-2391

Seventh Judicial District Dept. of Correctional Services
605 Main Street,
Davenport, IA 52803-5244
563-322-7986 | Fax 563-324-2063

Eighth Judicial District Dept. of Correctional Services
1805 West Jefferson
P. O. Box 1060
Fairfield, IA 52556-1060
641-472-4242 | Fax 641-472-9966
Iowa State Penitentiary 319-372-5432
Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility 309-385-9511

Recent Parole Decisions

Iowa Missing Persons

Division of Criminal Investigation
Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 E. 7th St.
Des Moines, IA 50319
515-725-6036 | 1-800-346-5507

Dept. Health and Human Services

Vital Records

Iowa Secretary of State

Administration
1007 East Grand Avenue
Room 105, State Capitol
Des Moines, IA 50319
515-281-8993 | Fax 515-242-5952

Voter Registration
First Floor, Lucas Building
321 E. 12th St.
Des Moines, IA 50319
515-281-8849 | Fax 515-281-7142
1-888-SOS-VOTE (1-888-767-8683)

Business Services
First Floor, Lucas Building
321 E. 12th St.
Des Moines, IA 50319
515-281-5204 | Fax 515-242-5953

Elections
First Floor, Lucas Building
321 E. 12th St.
Des Moines, IA 50319
515-281-0145 | Fax 515-281-7142

Sex Offender Registry
Request for Registry information Request Form

IOWA STATE PATROL

Iowa State Patrol Headquarters
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
515-725-6090

The Iowa State Patrol is composed of four areas with sixteen district offices throughout the state:

Iowa State Patrol
District #1
260 N.W. 48th Place
Des Moines, IA 50313
515-725-0010

Iowa State Patrol
District #2
1619 Truro Pavement
Osceola, IA 50213
641-342-2108

Iowa State Patrol
District #3
2025 Hunt Avenue
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
712-328-8001

Iowa State Patrol
District #4
3710 Highway 30 East
Denison, IA 51442
712-263-4621

Iowa State Patrol
District #5
5116 Highway 3
Cherokee, IA 51012
712-225-5119

Iowa State Patrol
District #6
503 W. 44th Street
Spencer, IA 51301
712-262-1424

Iowa State Patrol
District #7
RR5, 2437 235th St.
Fort Dodge, IA 50501
515-972-4213

Iowa State Patrol
District #8
4425 South Washington Avenue
Mason City, IA 50401-7002
641-424-3625

Iowa State Patrol
District #9
1510 West 1st Street
Cedar Falls, IA 50613
319-266-2677

Iowa State Patrol
District #10
15239 - 35th Street
Oelwein, IA 50662
319-283-5521

Iowa State Patrol
District #11
5400 - 16th Avenue S.W.
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
319-396-1944

Iowa State Patrol
District #12
22365 20th Avenue
Stockton, IA 52769
563-284-9501

Iowa State Patrol
District #13
1300 Grand Ave., Ste 201
Mt. Pleasant, IA 52641
319-385-8715

Iowa State Patrol
District #14
2331 Roemer Avenue>
Ottumwa, IA 52501
641-682-4589

Iowa State Patrol
District #15
5912 NW Second Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50313
515-281-6176

Iowa State Patrol
District #16
Lucas State Office Bldg.
Des Moines, IA 50319
515-281-3879

Iowa AMBER ALERT

State Archives

The Iowa State Historical Society keeps and maintains the historical records and State Archive for the state of Iowa.

Iowa State Historical Building (Des Moines)
600 East Locust
Des Moines, Iowa, 50319
515-281-5111