STATE VEHICLES: Public ‘Should Access Data’

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Iowa Governor Terry Branstad couldn't say whether Iowans will ever know how many times law enforcement or traffic cameras bust unmarked state vehicles for speeding, running red lights or other driving infractions.

The issue surfaced after a state trooper declined to pull over a speeding SUV in April for doing "a hard 90" as the trooper described. Another trooper had been driving the vehicle with the governor and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds inside.

The Department of Public Safety cited security concerns for reasons for not turning over the records for the nearly 3,200 state vehicles. When asked whether the information, even sensitive information redacted, will ever get released to the public, Branstad responded, "I don't know. I guess my feeling is that I think the public should have access to that information."

But he said he understands the sensitivity toward security. Branstad said, "When I was governor before, we had a license plate that said 'number one' on it. It was a Lincoln Towne car and it was pretty easy to identify, then there was something called 9/11 that happened."

Likely Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Hatch asked, "What's he hiding?
That's what we want to know."

Hatch said the governor's refusal to make sure the necessary information gets released to the public is a serious matter. He said, "I think he is really struggling. We don't expect that from a governor. We expect honestly, direct kind of answers to good questions people are asking."

Branstad said he ordered the Department of Transportation to review the records of state vehicle traffic information.

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