A Steuben, Wisconsin resident writes that she is devastated that the Wisconsin DNR conditionally approved plans for Roth Feeder Pig to expand into a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO).
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Opinion: Bar lawmakers from destroying records
At the heart of Wisconsin’s government transparency laws is a presumption of openness — that “all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those officers and employees who represent them.”
Opinion: Long-unreported pipeline leak should be a wakeup call for Wisconsin
Guest author Peter Truitt argues in this Opinion piece that the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline should be halted because of high health and environmental risks.
Officials use digital dodges to hide records
The disturbing trend toward using digital dodges to evade Wisconsin’s Open Records Law extends far beyond the university.
Your Right to Know: Record location fees invite abuses
A member of the public or representative of the press will file a request under Wisconsin’s open records law, which applies to all state and local government entities. But instead of records, the requester gets a bill.
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.
Your Right to Know: State needs a more open redistricting process
Wisconsin lawmakers will soon begin redrawing congressional and state voting boundaries, in accordance with the latest Census. It’s a good time to reflect on how that process has played out before — and for the public to demand greater transparency this time around.
Your Right to Know: Officials’ behavior is reckless and illegal
To keep each other safe, we’ve been asked to add barriers — distance and masks — to our face-to-face interaction. We also have videoconferencing to help overcome those barriers.
Yet to this day, Republican leaders in the state Assembly are holding meetings without requiring attendees to wear masks or offering a video option for those who don’t feel safe attending.
Your Right to Know: Remote access to meetings is not ideal
Early on in the pandemic, the Wisconsin Department of Justice laid out guidance for making sure virtual meetings comply with the state’s Open Meetings Law. There are some public bodies who do a phenomenal job, but there’s still much more that can and should be done.
Your Right to Know: State must do more to promote openness
Last January, a person involved in local emergency management asked the Office of Open Government whether emergency preparedness coalitions run by the Wisconsin DHS are subject to the state’s open meetings and open records laws. The answer is yes — but arriving at this answer took nearly a year, which should not have happened.
Your Right to Know: DOC should be more open about COVID-19
In late October, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections finally disclosed the number of COVID-19 deaths among people incarcerated in state prisons. But this disclosure came only after months of delays and cover ups — and the DOC is still trying to hide information about the epidemic.
Your Right to Know: State should name schools with COVID-19 cases
The state’s refusal to identify specific schools with COVID-19 cases suggests a pernicious problem: that officials don’t trust parents and students to have easy public access to information that could put schools or administrators in a negative light.