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As I See It

Sunshine week reminds of need for open, honest government



It is sunshine week in Wisconsin, an effort devoted to openness and transparency at all levels of government. And recent events prove the need to remain vigilant in ensuring the people’s business is not done behind closed doors. The state’s open records laws have come under repeated attack in Madison in recent months. It was in July when lawmakers shamefully tried to exempt themselves from the open records laws. The public cried foul, and those lawmakers quickly put their tails between their legs. Despite the outcry, some continued to work behind the scenes to try to hide from the public what they do and how they do it. In August, the state’s Public Records Board declared certain forms of messages, like emails, to be considered transitory records, and therefore able to be destroyed. They too backtracked. Ironically, the Public Records Board may have itself violated the open meetings laws when it failed to provide proper notice of its meeting. To highlight Sunshine Week, advocates of open government plan a tour of the state to explain what the laws say, and how people can utilize the laws to keep track of our lawmakers. That tour makes a stop today at the La Crosse library. If you are concerned about open and honest government, we encourage you to attend. Because it is clear that some in Madison have a contempt for the public’s right to know, and we need to remain vigilant. Let the sun shine in!

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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