Simpson Street Free PressA Madison-based newspaper produced mainly by high school students, the Simpson Street Free Press pushed back hard against the claims made by a group affiliated with the Madison School District that the group was not subject to the state’s open records and meetings laws. The effort prompted one school board member to call for requiring any group that includes school district representatives to follow openness laws.
The Department of Corrections wants to keep employee training recordings as public records, but also is seeking the ability to destroy them after a day.
La Crosse: March 15, 2 p.m. La Crosse Public Library. Local sponsor: La Crosse Tribune.
Eau Claire: March 15, 7 p.m. Centennial Hall, Room 1614, UW-Eau Claire. Local sponsor: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, UW-Eau Claire chapter, Society of Professional Journalists
Wausau: March 16, 10 a.m. Marathon County Public Library. Local sponsor:Wausau Daily Herald-USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
Green Bay: March 16, 2 p.m. Green Bay Public Library. Local Sponsor: Green Bay Press-Gazette-USA TODAY NETWORK-WISCONSIN
Appleton: March 16, 7:30 p.m. Appleton Public Library. Local sponsor: Appleton Post-Crescent-USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
Sheboygan: March 17, 10 a.m. Sheboygan Public Library. Local sponsor: Sheboygan Press-USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
Waukesha: March 17, 2 p.m, Waukesha Public Library. Local sponsor: Schott, Bublitz and Engel S.C.
Janesville: March 17, 7 p.m. Blackhawk Technical College. Local sponsor: Janesville Gazette
The eight-city “Open Government Traveling Show” by open government advocates comes in the wake of unprecedented attacks on open records laws from state lawmakers and others. The events will take place from Tuesday, March 15, through Thursday, March 17, as part of national Sunshine Week, an annual celebration of access to public information.
“Not far from Whitewater, Janesville’s local newspaper finds itself in an access-to-information conflict with the Janesville School District. There’s no surprise in any of this. (Quick note: I’m using that paper as an example because it’s close-at-hand. One could find other examples easily enough.) For years that paper has ridiculed citizens’ petition efforts, toadied to business…
Two former cabinet members under Gov. Scott Walker say they were instructed by former Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch not to conduct important state business by state email or on state telephones. Huebsch said he merely warned fellow cabinet members to be careful because such communications could be made public.
Dee Hall is the managing editor at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Department of Administrative staff told Hall higher-ups instructed them to use alternative communication methods, rather than official email addresses. This comes after a change from the Public Records Board which exempts text messages from public records laws.
Shift could leave text messages out of what is available to the public.The relatively quiet move from the state’s Public Records Board could make messages from public officials that were once public private from citizens. Bill Lueders is president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council.
So a local paper complains that a local school superintendent won’t comply with a public records request, won’t put the paper on a media contact list, and simply ‘must’ improve communications.
A few points –
1. Compliance with a public records request isn’t a ‘communications’ issue; it’s a legal issue, of rights of residents under Wisconsin law….
Last week the news was about his failure to provide under a Freedom of Information request a complete visitor’s log for those who visited the Governor’s Mansion. This morning in bold headlines the Wisconsin State Journal reports that his campaign failed to submit required employer information for nearly 6,000 contributors last year. This matter of reporting information on employers is one that I called attention to recently, and one that the current Republican controlled legislature is working to remove from our laws.
The latest criticism is that GAB staff used Gmail accounts, rather than their official state email accounts, to communicate with prosecutors during the Walker investigation.
At a hearing last week, Rep. David Craig (R-Big Bend) grilled GAB Director Kevin Kennedy over the agency’s use of Gmail during the John Doe investigation, claiming that private email was subject to hacking and suggesting that the Department of Justice needed to look into the GAB’s actions.
Yet documents obtained through records requests show that Rep. Craig uses a private Hotmail account for official business, including for correspondence with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos also hammered the GAB over its use of Gmail. When asked about his own use of private email, Vos said that he uses his state email account “in 99.9 percent of the cases,” adding, “our policy is we tell people to utilize legislative email when conducting official business. That’s the policy that we practice.”
But documents obtained through public records requests tell another story….
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) has shown that he will make every effort to gut the state’s open records law, no matter what the citizens of Wisconsin think, which raises the question of whether he is fit to represent the public’s interests in the state Legislature.
His utter disdain for transparency in conducting the public’s business should encourage civic-minded citizens in southern Racine County who believe in open, honest government to seriously consider replacing him. We hope Vos will face strong challengers in next year’s elections, starting with the Republican primary in August.
MADISON — Newly released records show that Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is exploring the idea of treating the Legislature differently than other government bodies in Wisconsin when it comes to handling open records.
Vos spokeswoman Kit Beyer said Tuesday, September 8th that Vos wants to debate the changes before the end of the session next spring.
Now the Wisconsin DNR “parcels for sale” website has been changed to hide to whom and when the sales took/will take place, the description of the land, and replaced by a link to a site entitled “Wisconsin Surplus [exit DNR],” in an effort to block information about public land Walker wants auctioned.Walker has been pushing for codifying foreign ownership of Wisconsin public lands for years in his effort to negate a 127-year-old Wisconsin law limiting such foreign ownership.
Messing with open government laws is like touching the third rail,” Schimel told nearly 200 people at the Concourse Hotel. “I think that lesson has been learned recently.
“Madison– Gov. Scott Walker announced over the weekend that Republicans would not create new exceptions to the state’s open records law, but for months the all-but-certain presidential candidate has been operating as if the exemptions were already in place. Two months ago, Walker declined to make public records related to his proposal to rewrite the…
A review by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism shows similarities between recent records request denials from the governor’s office and the state Department of Administration and changes inserted in the budget Thursday by Republican leaders — similarities that raise questions about whether Walker himself was involved in the budget proposal.
“In an act of brazen cynicism Thursday night, the Legislature’s powerful Joint Finance Committee sneaked into the state budget bill a group of fundamental policy changes that would have blown up Wisconsin’s long, proud history of open government and access to public records. They tried to rewrite state law so the public could no longer…