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Vox Hawkeye A Study in the Intellectual Call for Open Government (and How One State Heeded It)
Unformatted Document Text:  involved themselves with the prevailing law began to seemingly grow restive with its vagaries and restrictions and pressed the legislature for improvements. B. The Longer Stride That a move to modify the Iowa Open Meetings Law was afoot even before the Supreme Court’s decision in Knight is attested to by the fact that on October 12, 1977 the legislature empanelled the Joint State Government Subcommittee on the Open Meetings Law “to study the present practice under Chapter 28A of the Code.” 61 The membership of the subcommittee comprised co-chairs Senator Kevin Kelly and Representative Don Avenson, and senators Minnette Doderer and Lowell Junkins, and representatives Norman Jesse and Nancy Shimanek as the remaining members. 62 According to the subcommittee’s final report, delivered to the Second Session of the 67 th General Assembly of the Iowa Legislature, these legislators had two meetings calculated to see the need for, and define the substantive elements of, changes in chapter 28A. The first, held on November 14, 1977, was “a public hearing where testimony was given by journalists, citizens groups, and government agencies. These parties spoke to the problems they encounter with the present language of the open meetings law and discussed suggested revisions.” 63 It has proven difficult to retrieve many original documents or statements relating to this particular hearing, but one such artifact—the text of a speech delivered by Drake Journalism Dean Herbert Strentz, executive secretary of the then-newly formed Iowa Freedom of Information (FOI) Council (incorporated March 17, 1977)—still exists to underscore at least some of the priorities and concerns of those associated with media operations in the state. 64 In addressing the members of the subcommittee, Strentz stated that as of that date the FOI Council had no “formal stand in calling for specific revisions of Chapter 28A,” 65 but that it was his personal belief any revisions should, at the very least, include “a preamble stating (the law’s) purpose and 61 Open Meetings Law Subcommittee Of The Standing Committee On State Government, Report To The Members Of Second Session Of The Sixty-Seventh General Assembly, State Of Iowa 1978, at 1 (Dec. 1977). 62 Ibid. 63 Ibid. 64 Herbert Strentz, speech delivered to hearing of Joint Interim Subcommittee to study the Iowa Open Meetings Law, 14 November 1977. 65 Ibid.

Authors: stepanek, steve.
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involved themselves with the prevailing law began to seemingly grow restive with its vagaries and 
restrictions and pressed the legislature for improvements.
B. The Longer Stride
That a move to modify the Iowa Open Meetings Law was afoot even before the Supreme Court’s 
decision in Knight is attested to by the fact that on October 12, 1977 the legislature empanelled the Joint 
State Government Subcommittee on the Open Meetings Law “to study the present practice under Chapter 
28A of the Code.
  The membership of the subcommittee comprised co-chairs Senator Kevin Kelly and 
Representative Don Avenson, and senators Minnette Doderer and Lowell Junkins, and representatives 
Norman Jesse and Nancy Shimanek as the remaining members.
According to the subcommittee’s final report, delivered to the Second Session of the 67
Assembly of the Iowa Legislature, these legislators had two meetings calculated to see the need for, and 
define the substantive elements of, changes in chapter 28A.  The first, held on November 14, 1977, was 
“a public hearing where testimony was given by journalists, citizens groups, and government agencies. 
These parties spoke to the problems they encounter with the present language of the open meetings law 
and discussed suggested revisions.
  It has proven difficult to retrieve many original documents or 
statements relating to this particular hearing, but one such artifact—the text of a speech delivered by 
Drake Journalism Dean Herbert Strentz, executive secretary of the then-newly formed Iowa Freedom of 
Information (FOI) Council (incorporated March 17, 1977)—still exists to underscore at least some of the 
priorities and concerns of those associated with media operations in the state.
In addressing the members of the subcommittee, Strentz stated that as of that date the FOI 
Council had no “formal stand in calling for specific revisions of Chapter 28A,
 but that it was his 
personal belief any revisions should, at the very least, include “a preamble stating (the law’s) purpose and 
 Open Meetings Law Subcommittee Of The Standing Committee On State Government, Report To The Members 
Of Second Session Of The Sixty-Seventh General Assembly, State Of Iowa 1978, at 1 (Dec. 1977).
 Herbert Strentz, speech delivered to hearing of Joint Interim Subcommittee to study the Iowa Open Meetings Law, 
14 November 1977. 

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