Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Good Day Sunshine Laws

As part of Sunshine Week, today's Wisconsin State Journal includes a short but useful piece on "A Guide To Requesting Records." The piece points out that Wisconsin's sunshine law is found in state statutes 19.31-19.39. Statute 19.31 says:

19.31 Declaration of policy. In recognition of the fact that a representative government is dependent upon an informed electorate, it is declared to be the public policy of this state that all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those officers and employees who represent them. Further, providing persons with such information is declared to be an essential function of a representative government and an integral part of the routine duties of officers and employees whose responsibility it is to provide such information. To that end, ss. 19.32 to 19.37 shall be construed in every instance with a presumption of complete public access, consistent with the conduct of governmental business. The denial of public access generally is contrary to the public interest, and only in an exceptional case may access be denied.

On the campaign trail, I have said that if elected I plan to conduct workshops on how citizens can use the open records and open meetings laws. Citizen awareness of and ability to use these laws is a key component of ensuring government accountability.

1 comment:

Joshua M. Cowles said...

I bet people would be interested in an open records workshop even if you aren't elected, although that eventuality seems unlikely from what I'm hearing.