A Bulletin on Iowa Open Meetings and Public Records Laws
By Attorney General Tom Miller -- January 2006
The Open Meetings Law Applies to Nonprofits Licensed to
Conduct Pari-Mutuel Wagering or Gambling Games
The Open Meetings Law applies to "governmental" bodies as defined by statute. Generally, nonprofit
corporations are not "governmental" bodies; however, nonprofit corporations licensed to conduct pari-mutuel wagering or gambling games are defined as "governmental" bodies and, as a result, must
comply with the Open Meetings Law. This means, for example, the public is entitled to notice and a
tentative agenda, a meeting must be held at a place reasonably convenient to the public, and the public
is entitled to attend.
"Governmental" bodies include nonprofit corporations that have the following characteristics under
Iowa Code sec. 21.2:
- Property Tax Revenue & Gambling Licenses: The law applies to nonprofit corporations "whose facilities
or indebtedness are supported in whole or in part with property tax revenue" and who are "licensed to
conduct pari-mutuel wagering" under Iowa Code Chapter 99D. ( But a "fair" conducting a "fair event" is
specifically excluded. Iowa Code sec. 21.2(1)(f).) The law applies to these nonprofit corporations only
when meetings "relate to the conduct of pari-mutuel racing and wagering." Iowa Code sec. 21.11.
- Successor Corporations: The law applies to a nonprofit corporation which is the successor to a nonprofit
corporation that built a gambling facility. Iowa Code sec. 21.2(1)(f).
- Gambling Games: The law applies to nonprofit corporations "licensed to conduct gambling games" under
Iowa Code Chapter 99F. Iowa Code sec. 21.2(1)(g).
In summary: The Open Meetings Law assures that the public has access to meetings of
"governmental" bodies, which include nonprofits licensed to conduct pari-mutuel wagering or
gambling games in casinos at racetracks or on riverboats. Other nonprofits, of course, may opt to
follow the Open Meetings Law even if compliance is not required by law.
Citizens who have inquiries or complaints about public records or open meetings may call the Iowa Citizens'
Aide/Ombudsman Office -- toll-free at 888-IA-OMBUD (888-426-6283.)
"Sunshine Advisory" bulletins provide information on
Iowa's public records and open meetings laws -- our
"Sunshine Laws." The bulletins are a resource for public officials and citizens.
Local officials should obtain
legal advice from their counsel, such as the city or county attorney.
Iowa Attorney General's Office: Hoover Building, Des Moines, Iowa 50319.
On the Web: www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.org.