Editorial: Stall tactic on records release in Wisconsin must end

During Sunshine Week in March when attention nationwide was focused on government transparency, Gov. Scott Walker issued an executive order calling on state agencies to "go above and beyond requirements of the Public Records Law and promote easier, fairer and broader access to public records."

The director of state courts hasn't gotten the message.


Opinion: On open government, Wisconsin citizens were the real winners

What came through loud and clear at the Wisconsin Watchdog Awards dinner last week was that the true winner in last year's fights over open government issues was you.

Well-deserved awards were given, including the 2016 Distinguished Wisconsin Watchdog Award to attorney Robert Dreps, who has spent his career fighting for the public's right to know.


Wisconsin board knew public records changes were ‘significant’

The state Public Records Board used contradictory messages to describe its decision last summer to expand what kinds of records could be destroyed immediately.

To the public and news organizations, the message was: The board made a routine clarification that was not "substantive." That was the explanation given by Matthew Blessing, the board's chairman, in downplaying why the board did not even give advance public notice by putting the matter on its Aug. 24 agenda.


Op-ed: Wisconsin’s open records law remains under siege, assault

Here's an idea: State government's top criminal investigator should follow—and not try to circumvent—the open records law.

But former Corrections Secretary Ed Wall, who is on paid leave as director of the state Justice Department's Criminal Division while investigators determine how he responded to alleged assaults at the state's prison for juveniles, tried to end-run the records law.


10 ways Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin GOP have moved to diminish accountability

Earlier this month, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed an executive order pledging to “go above and beyond the requirements of the Public Records Law and promote easier, fairer and broader access to public records.”

That order creates a system for citizens to monitor the performance of state agencies. He debuted his Open Book website in 2014, which has gotten favorable reviews for user friendliness and how it catalogs state spending, though it does not offer specifics on what services or goods were purchased.


Editorial: Sunshine laws help answer big questions

Is Wisconsin tough on doctors who make big mistakes, costing people their lives? No.

Is soil at the former Royster-Clark plant on Madison’s East Side still contaminated? Yes.

Was a Waupun prison guard suspended for making a lynching joke about President Barack Obama? Yes. '

Was a UW-Madison football player really acting in self-defense — as the athletic department contended — during a fight last fall at his off-campus residence? No. (He actually threw the first punch.)


Open records settlement shines light on blacked-out government records

In advance of Sunshine Week, Wisconsin Watchdog and the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty are pleased to announce a victory for open records and open government.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department has agreed to settle an open records case by turning over unredacted copies of requested incident reports and paying WILL’s attorney fees and costs.


Wisconsin’s DNR says it’s dropping ‘Do Not Respond’ list

The Department of Natural Resources says it will no longer use a controversial "Do Not Respond" list to limit information it gives to people who have been deemed by the agency to be abusive or repetitive in their requests.

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp said that upon learning of the matter, she's told staff that lists of this type won't be created or used.


Wisconsin open government advocates hit the road to boost understanding, use of open records laws

Residents across Wisconsin are invited to free events exploring the importance of open records laws, and how to use them to obtain critical information about the actions of government.

The eight-city “Open Government Traveling Show” by open government advocates comes in the wake of unprecedented attacks on open records laws from state lawmakers and others.