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As I See It

Tracking of open records requests should resume under Gov. Evers

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As Gov. Tony Evers sets the tone for how state government operates. It is important that he set a good example for members of his administration to follow. That is why it is troubling that earlier this year, Evers refused to provide media credentials to the conservative news organization the MacIver Institute. That is now the subject of a lawsuit. Meanwhile, another conservative group claims the Evers administration is failing to follow proper open records practices. The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty alleges it is taking to long for state agencies to respond to open records requests. There seems little evidence that is the case, given that the Evers administration has fulfilled 195 of 209 public records requests made between January and September. That looks to be a pretty good track record. But what is troubling is that Governor Evers no longer maintains a website tracking the progress of records requests made to state agencies. His predecessor, Scott Walker, not always a friend of open government, did in his final year in office direct state agencies to maintain a log of their responses to public records requests. That is no longer being updated under Evers. Evers claims he has no requirement to do so, but that doesn’t mean keeping the public informed of how the state handles these requests is not a good idea. The state should get this website going again and prove that no matter which party is in office, ensuring the public can be a watchdog for our democracy is a priority.