So far as we can recall, no lawmaker has ever before tried to defeat the state’s open records law by employing this ruse. We are deeply disappointed in both Sen. Vukmir and the Attorney General’s Office, for the position it has taken. Continue Reading
Doesn’t the public have a right to know who came up with these ideas? This would let voters hold their elected officials accountable at the ballot box and look for potential conflicts. Continue Reading
On July 30, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on newly released emails between Scott Walker’s campaign staff and county aides in 2010, back when the future governor was Milwaukee county executive. One email was from Cindy Archer, then a top county aide, to Walker and his campaign staff, advising that “we may be responding too quickly” to open records requests regarding a county parking structure collapse that killed a 15-year-old boy. The requests were from the state Democratic Party and the campaign of Walker’s GOP primary opponent, which presumably wanted to use the tragedy to impugn Walker. That’s a pretty low motivation — Walker, in a draft statement, aptly called it “disgusting” — but the state’s Open Records Law does not allow a requester’s motives to be taken into account. Continue Reading
Because voucher schools are still classified as “private,” they can — and do — ignore Wisconsin’s open records and meetings laws. It’s a double standard that
undermines transparency and shields information from parents and the public.
Police in Wisconsin have begun withholding the names of drivers in police reports in response to a 2012 case involving the village of Palatine, Ill. Continue Reading
Two recent developments have eased access to state records on child care and senior care facilities — institutions serving highly vulnerable populations.
Among advocates for open government, it is often said that public officials should not get kudos for doing the minimum. If the law requires a certain degree of openness and the authorities oblige, they might avoid a kick in the shin but won’t likely get a pat on the back. That may be the operative theory behind the “D” rating awarded the Wisconsin Legislature in a new 50-state ranking of legislative websites produced by the Sunlight Foundation, a national nonprofit group that promotes government transparency. Continue Reading