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As I See It

No need for WIAA to be covered by open records laws



Like many media organizations, we are in favor of openness in government. We believe government operates most efficiently when it operates in the light of day, rather than the cover of darkness. But new legislation introduced in Madison misses the mark. You could even call it an airball. Rep. John Nygren has introduced legislation which would require the governing body of high school athletics in Wisconsin to comply with the state’s open records law. Nygren’s bill comes on the heels of the huge embarrassment the WIAA encountered after sending a memo to school districts reminding them that fans at high school sporting events who yell things like “airball” can be tossed out of the stands. It was designed to simply be reminder of existing rules, but many saw it as heavy-handed an unnecessary. This proposal seems a knee-jerk reaction to that. Nygren says the WIAA is a quasi-governmental agency and therefore should be covered by open records laws. But the WIAA is a private, non-profit agency, which receives zero public funding. This bill singles out the WIAA and would not cover other non-profits. The WIAA may have erred with its memo, but trying to argue that the organization should have to comply with open records laws is equally misguided.

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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