June: Judge was wrong to bar recordings of trial

Since 1979, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has allowed cameras and microphones in state courtrooms, subject to reasonable restrictions. Thirty years ago, Milwaukee serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s sanity trial was broadcast live. In 2006, former Green Bay Packers tight end Mark Chmura’s sexual assault and child enticement trial was broadcast live. This past November, Kyle Rittenhouse’s […]

Continue Reading

May: Ask lawmakers for the records they delete

If a legislator deletes an email, is it truly gone? Not necessarily. On March 10, Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn ordered Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to search for deleted emails that should have been preserved after an open records request from American Oversight, a watchdog group. Weeks later, Vos’ team surrendered an astounding 20,000 […]

Continue Reading

March: Opees awards highlight good and bad

For the sixteenth consecutive year, the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council is presenting its Openness Awards, or Opees, to recognize outstanding efforts to protect the state’s tradition of open government, as well as some of the threats to it. The awards, part of the observance of national Sunshine Week (sunshineweek.org), March 13-19, are given in […]

Continue Reading

November: Records shed light on board shenanigans

The Natural Resources Board, an all-volunteer body that guides policy for the Department of Natural Resources, is part of Wisconsin’s tradition of open government. The idea to empower volunteers  —  rather than politicians  —  was first proposed in the progressive era by leading conservationists, including Aldo Leopold, who understood that decisions about natural resources should […]

Continue Reading