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As I See It

Lawmakers still intent on gutting open records laws



It seems they just don’t learn in Madison. Just weeks after being publicly rebuked for proposing gutting Wisconsin’s Open Records laws, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos isn’t giving up on the idea. Vos still seems hell-bent on allowing lawmakers to avoid having to comply with the open records laws, and would prefer to have them keep all their communications shielded from the public. The latest twist would be to pass a bill to give the legislature and its lawmakers exemptions from the law by making their communications subject to legislative rules, rather than the open records laws. Basically, this effort would allow lawmakers, not state law, to determine what is a matter of public record. It was troubling when lawmakers first tried to amend the state budget to shield lawmakers from open records laws. It is even more troubling that given the unprecedented level of opposition from both conservatives and liberals, that Vos still isn’t giving up. Clearly he is willing to try anything to exempt lawmakers from the same open records laws that apply to other government officials in the state. He is willing to try any tricks, including another sneak attack. It seems no matter how much the public tries to tell Vos this is a bad idea, he still isn’t ready to give up trying anyway possible to ram this through.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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