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As I See It

Wisconsin lawmakers should be subject to more transparency, not less



Wisconsin has very clear laws when it comes to matters of public record. All records, including meeting minutes and requests for the emails of public officials are considered to be open to the public, except in rare circumstances. That is true for school boards, city and county government, and state agencies. But not the Wisconsin Legislature. Lawmakers have essentially shielded themselves from having to comply with the public records laws, giving themselves the ability to destroy information that for other government officials would be a matter of public record. Now state lawmakers are taking more steps to block access to reports of misconduct by our elected officials. The Joint Finance Committee has voted unanimously to create a new legislative human resources office which would establish a formal complaint process to review and investigate allegations of harassment, discrimination or bullying by legislators or their staff. The language in the bill suggests that any complaint about bad behavior by those we elect to public office will remain confidential. The public should have the right to know if those whose salaries we pay are behaving badly. This bill, if signed into law, would make that nearly impossible. Wisconsin lawmakers should be advocating for and subject to more accountability and transparency, not less.

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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