The Iowa House has passed a bill that would force many elected officials in Iowa to post a phone number and an email address on the website for the government entity on which they serve, so constituents could contact them. It would apply to legislators, school board members, county supervisors, and city council members.
Representative Mike Sexton, a Republican from Rockwell City, was the bill’s floor manager. “This bill came to us from some folks that tried to contact their local school board members and they called the school to get their contact information and the school refused to release that information,” Sexton said this morning.
If the bill were law today, two members of the Iowa Senate would not meet the requirements. Senators Mark Costello of Imogene and Charles Schneider of West Des Moines merely list their home address as contact information on their pages on the legislature’s website. No phone or email is listed for either of them. Staff for the two Senate Republicans say constituents could find the senate switchboard number elsewhere on the legislature’s main website as a point of contact for either senator.
There are 100 members of the Iowa House and 66 of them merely list their legislative email address, which some fail to check on a regular basis, and the phone number for the House switchboard as contact information. That number is answered from Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. ’til 4:30 p.m., when the House is in session. After hours, and after the legislature adjourns in late spring, callers are directed to the legislature’s website.
Forty-eight of the 50 members of the Iowa Senate list their home phone number, their cell phone number or both on the legislature’s website.
(This post was updated at 4:16 p.m. with additional information.)