Branstad/Reynolds Secret Bill Signing: Progress Iowa Files Open Records Request

Governor Branstad signed HF291 in private ceremony without press or the general public invited 

Progress Iowa today submitted an open records request to Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds, asking that they release the list of all those invited to attend the private bill signing of House File 291 (HF291) into law, as well as the list of those in attendance. During the past week, the private bill signing has been surrounded by controversy as no member of the media or the general public were invited, but at least one corporate lobbyist was in attendance.

“Unfortunately four decades of worker’s rights were stripped away under a cloud of darkness in just a matter of weeks,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “This legislation carried the stink of secrecy from the beginning, and Iowans deserve much better. At the very least we deserve to know who was in the room when it was signed into law.”

HF291 stripped away the collective bargaining rights of public workers under Chapter 20 of Iowa code, which was created on a bipartisan basis in 1974 and signed by Republican Governor Robert Ray.

The open records request, submitted to Colin Smith in the Office of the Governor and Lt. Governor, reads as follows:

Open Records Request Letter to Gov. Branstad & Lt. Gov. Reynolds:

February 23, 2017

Dear Mr. Smith:

I am requesting a copy of the following information pursuant to Iowa Code Chapter 22, the public records law.

I would like to know the list of every individual and organization invited to attend the signing of House File 291, as well as those who were in attendance.

The Iowa Public Information Board advises that most requests for records are routine and should be handled immediately.  Chapter 22.8 states that a good faith, reasonable delay in responding to a request shall not exceed 20 calendar days and ordinarily should not exceed 10 business days.

If there is a fee for fulfilling this request, please inform me in advance of the amount. Chapter 22.3 says that the fee shall not exceed the actual cost of providing the service.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Matt Sinovic
Executive Director | Progress Iowa

Progress Iowa
P.O. Box 548
Des Moines, IA 50302

Gov. Branstad signs House File 291 into law