Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council names ‘Opee’ winners

This year’s Openness in Government (Opee) Awards recognize Wisconsin’s largest newspaper for its dogged records-based coverage of the pandemic and its commitment to the cause of transparency in government, as well as a government agency that led the way in providing a maximum amount of information on COVID-19. Other winners include a municipal judge who…

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Law enforcement, open records advocates differ on Marsy’s Law interpretation

When overwhelmingly passed by Wisconsin voters in April, Marsy’s Law was billed as a major step forward for crime victims’ rights, but public records advocates are raising concerns that an over-interpretation of the constitutional amendment by some law enforcement agencies could curtail access to public information. Last week, the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office announced it would…

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New bill would prevent Wisconsin lawmakers from destroying public records

A Wisconsin state lawmaker is introducing legislation that would prevent legislators from destroying public records. Other government agencies are required to keep public records for set periods of time. However, an exception state lawmakers wrote themselves decades ago allows them to avoid such rules. As FOX6 discovered in a recent investigation, state lawmakers regularly delete emails,…

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Clerk of courts files claim seeking reimbursement for $33K in attorney fees incurred during investigation sparked by judge

Ozaukee County Clerk of Courts Mary Lou Mueller said an investigation sparked by Judge Joseph Voiland’s false accusations against her and two other court officials cost her more than $30,000 in legal fees. Neither that investigation nor a criminal probe that preceded it found any evidence to support Voiland’s claims that Mueller, Ozaukee County presiding…

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Wisconsin board backs away from open records rule changes

Wisconsin officials backed away Thursday from a move to cut back on record-keeping requirements amid a backlash by open government advocates.

The board that oversees state public records will instead revisit its August vote changing the definition of so-called transitory records, such as texts and other messages deemed to have only temporary value. Gov. Scott Walker's administration has used the changes to deny requests for text messages and records of visits to the governor's mansion.

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Wisconsin Public Records Board head: We didn’t change transitory records definition

The head of the state's Public Records Board said it did not change the meaning of a "transitory" record at its August meeting.

Matt Blessing, an archivist with the Wisconsin Historical Society and chairman of the Public Records Board, said the board did not change its policy at the meeting, but rather expanded the description of what constitutes a "transitory" record including more specific examples to guide staff in training and orientation.

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