July: Raise the bar on police transparency

Recently, the National Freedom of Information Coalition and the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information issued a statement calling for greater transparency and accountability from law enforcement. They were joined by more than 50 groups, including the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, Wisconsin Newspaper Association, and the Wisconsin Transparency Project. “Trust is a key element […]

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May: Lawsuits test limits of political speech

Donald Trump says it’s just not fair. The president, through his campaign, is suing television station WJFW-TV in Rhinelander for airing a political ad that allegedly defamed him. “The advertisement was the product of an intentional and malicious effort to manufacture a false statement through the use of digital technology,” the lawsuit filed on April […]

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March: Opees recognize (mostly good) deeds

Every year brings forth new heroes and villains with regard to Wisconsin’s somewhat tattered tradition of open government. This year, it seems, we have had more heroes. In fact, in two categories for its annual Openness in Government Awards, or Opees, the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council was unable to settle on only a single […]

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Nominations Sought For 2020 Opee Awards

The Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, a nonprofit group that works to protect access to public meetings and records, is now accepting nominations for its annual Openness in Government Awards, or Opees. Awards are given in six categories: Popee (political openness award): Recognizes extraordinary service to the cause of open government by an elected or […]

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October: Evers can do better on openness

Early in his administration, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers was asked to produce a letter he’d gotten from departing Gov. Scott Walker, during the transition. He initially refused, claiming it was a “purely personal” communication outside of the reach of the state’s open records law. When the Associated Press asked me for comment, in my role […]

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September: Lawmakers use costs to rebuff records requests

In May, as the state Legislature’s Republican-controlled budget committee considered a plan to spend far less on education than what Democrat Gov. Tony Evers proposed, Sheila Plotkin started filing public records requests. Plotkin asked nearly every member of the Joint Finance Committee for correspondence they had received from Wisconsin residents about education funding. All of […]

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July: Lawsuit put end to abusive practice

Wisconsin’s open records law applies to all records requests, big or small. But under former Attorney General Brad Schimel, the Wisconsin Department of Justice implemented a restrictive policy that limited access based on the number of potentially responsive emails. After being sued by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), the Justice Department rescinded its […]

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