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As I See It

DNR chairman remains stubborn



This should be a victory for good, open government in Wisconsin. A new legal challenge should prove that. A lawsuit has now been filed against Fred Prehn, the chairman of the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board. He continues to serve in that position even though his term expired in May because he refuses to step down. He is seemingly allowed to do so because of a quirk in state law that says even though his successor has been named, she can’t be seated until she is confirmed by the Senate. And Republicans who control the Legislature won’t hold confirmation hearings because they like Prehn’s politics better. The lawsuit seeks to force Prehn to turn over emails and text communications between him and fellow lawmakers, as well as powerful lobbyists, discussing with them his plan to remain on the board. He has refused to turn over those records. But Wisconsin’s open records laws are clear. Those in government need to conduct their business in public and not shield records they may find embarrassing or harmful. This case shows exactly why the open records laws are so important. We deserve to be assured our public officials are operating lawfully and with transparency.

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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