Wisconsin court’s ruling strengthens fee-recovery provisions for requesters, attorney says

A recent Wisconsin court of appeals decision should be seen as good news because it strengthens the state’s fee recovery provision and puts records requesters in a stronger position. That’s the opinion of Christa Westerberg, vice president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, a member of the National Freedom of Information Coalition. The appeals…


Loophole allows Wisconsin legislators to destroy emails; ‘Obviously it’s troubling,’ FOI council leader says

Unlike other public officials in Wisconsin, state legislators can destroy documents to avoid records requests, according to a report by the Racine County Eye. State legislators must comply with the state’s Open Records Law — if they have the requested documents in their possession. There’s nothing preventing them from destroying documents, and one state representative…


Editorial: Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council right to challenge Public Records Board

The Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council took the right step this week in filing a complaint against the state Public Records Board, alleging violations of the state's open records law. The violations are serious and require a thorough examination by the Dane County district attorney, with whom the complaint was filed.


Blog: Less Privacy For People, More Privacy For Government

Our state (WI) government should operate in a fully transparent way. We need to know what our elected officials are doing, how their decisions are being made, and how they are spending our money. On the other hand, private citizens should be granted a good deal of anonymity. We should be able to vote, express our opinions, and communicate with our representatives without our actions being widely publicized.


Bill Lueders: A wish-list for open government in Wisconsin

Most candidates for public office, when asked, will pledge their support for open and transparent government. The real question is: Are they committed to fixing problems and expanding what information is available?

Recently, the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council drew up a “Legislative wish-list for open government”—changes in state law to improve access and accountability. As the various candidates in this fall’s elections crow about how open they will be, here are specific proposals they could and should be asked about.


Wisc State Auditor: Kudos due as state leaps on transparency index

Wisconsin received an A- when it comes to government spending transparency, according to “Following the Money 2014: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the fifth annual report of its kind by the WISPIRG Foundation.

The state of Wisconsin has made great progress in becoming more transparent about where public money goes, providing citizens with the information they need to hold elected officials and recipients of public subsidies accountable.


Wisconsin legislator nixes UW record exemptions

The head of the state Assembly’s colleges committee said Monday he won’t allow the panel to vote on a bill that would largely keep University of Wisconsin System research activities secret, defusing a looming fight between the system and open government advocates.

Rep. Mike Kuglitsch, R-New Berlin, introduced a bill last week that would exempt all materials tied to any commercial, scientific or technical research from the state’s open records law before the research is published.


Your Right to Know: Wisconsin Local Government Center a valuable resource

Each election year in Wisconsin, about one-third of the local government offices on the ballot will be filled by newcomers — driven to office by a reformer’s zeal or a desire to serve their friends and neighbors. And some of them will know little about the laws that govern the conduct of local government.

That’s where the UW-Extension’s Local Government Center steps in.