Posted inOpinion

The ‘Opees’ in the age of COVID-19

For the 15th consecutive year, the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council is presenting its Openness in Government Awards, or Opees, recognizing outstanding achievement in the cause of transparency. Several of this years’ awards are related to the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced wholesale changes in how government officials conduct the public’s business. All are predicated on upholding the public’s right to know.

Posted inOpinion

Your Right to Know: Raise the bar on police transparency

The police killings of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks and Breonna Taylor, among others, as well as video footage of police using excessive force in dealing with protesters, have underscored the need for changes in policing, including greater access to disciplinary records.

It is time to break down some of the barriers that prevent the public from getting a full and true picture of how police perform — sometimes laudable, sometimes not — and how government agencies respond to allegations of misconduct.

Posted inOpinion

Your Right to Know: Scrutinize candidates on openness

Perhaps no other political issue receives so little attention, relative to its importance, as open government. Elections come and go without candidates addressing this fundamental tenet of a democratic society. That’s because virtually all candidates, when asked, will say they are big fans of transparency. It’s an easy position to take, a harder one to […]

Posted inOpinion

Your Right to Know: Are officials giving out too much information?

The nonprofit group I belong to is called the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council. Our mission is to protect and expand access to public records.

Usually this entails pushing state and local government officials to be as open as possible. But lately, a number of developments raise a peculiar concern: Are officials being too open?