Interest High In Open Government Following Open-Records-Gate

MacIver News Service | July 30, 2015

[Madison, Wisc…] Attorney General Brad Schimel (R-Wisconsin) treaded carefully between suggesting changes to Wisconsin’s open records law and not reigniting public outrage during his Open Government Summit at the Concourse Hotel in Madison on Wednesday.

“Let’s get right to the elephant in the room – messing with open government laws is like touching the third rail,” Schimel stated during his opening comments.

Schimel was referring to the incident on July 2nd, when the Joint Committee on Finance attempted to slip a massive overhaul to the state’s open records law into the state budget. Fierce and immediate public backlash force the legislature to later remove those changes.

Still, Schimel and other experts who spoke at the summit advocated for changes to the law, which was passed in 1981. They said it needs to address documents like email and social media posts.

Over two hundred people attended the day-long summit. It was originally going to be held in a Grand Army of the Republic hearing room in the Capitol, but had to be moved to a large conference room in the Concourse Hotel due to high interest.