Town, village, city, school district and county governments are prohibited from having such closed-door meetings, except in very limited circumstances, to discuss sensitive matters such as employee discipline or negotiating purchases of property. And even then the public must be notified of the general topics to be discussed.
In contrast, the Wisconsin Legislature routinely passes sweeping bills after little public discussion because the thorny details and disagreements have been hammered out beforehand in private partisan caucuses.
Rep. Cory Mason wants to change that. The Racine Democrat has re-introduced a bill, Assembly Bill 89, requiring lawmakers to follow the same rules as other public officials.
“For me, the hypocrisy of it is that, at the state level, we mandate openness for lower levels of government,” Mason says. “We ask everybody else to live up to these rules, then we exempt ourselves from them at the state level.”
Dee J Hall at WisconsinWatch.org.