All four candidates said the state’s online court records website is an important source of public information and should continue pretty much as is.
Should enforcement of Wisconsin’s open records and open meetings laws depend on individual citizens having to file often costly and protracted lawsuits? That is one option prescribed under these laws, and those who prevail in such cases can recover attorney’s fees. But the laws also contain provisions intended to help people resolve disputes in a cheaper and less complicated way: Citizens can ask the state attorney general or county district attorney to sue a government authority, and any person can seek advice from the attorney general.
new rules recently passed by the state Assembly and state Senate go beyond preserving decorum and ensuring order. They impede the ability of citizens to participate in their democracy and offer fresh proof, if any were needed, that the Legislature feels no need to follow the rules it has put in place for others.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman, the chief author of Wisconsin’s Open Records Law and a strong advocate of the Open Meetings Law, has been named the 2013 recipient of the Distinguished WisconsinWatch.orgdog Award.
The state Department of Natural Resources is rewriting its enforcement procedures, including steps to make the process less transparent.