State Rep. Peter Barca
Press Release

Assembly Republicans Refuse to Commit to Not Degrading Open Records Law

Assembly Democrats Reaffirm Commitment to Open Records, Open Government

By - Jul 9th, 2015 12:37 pm

MADISON – Today, Assembly Democrats put forward a resolution that would re-affirm the Assembly’s commitment to open records and open government. The resolution follows the Republicans’ unprecedented restrictions on public access to government records that were passed last Thursday by the Joint Finance Committee on a party-line vote. Republicans removed those changes from the budget following swift public blowback. While Assembly Republicans have been forced to recognize that their open records changes were a mistake, today they still removed language that would ensure Assembly representatives would not degrade the state’s open records law in the future.

“Last week, the people of Wisconsin joined Democrats in fighting back an historic assault on clean, open and transparent government,” Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha). “Assembly Democrats today reaffirmed our commitment to ensuring that every citizen can access their elected officials and government. Clearly Democrats feel strongly about preserving our strong open meetings law. On the other hand, Republicans have made it clear that not only do they want to modify our open records law, but even worse, they refuse to protect the law from future significant changes. Assembly Democrats will always stand up for upholding our state’s open record policies and will take all steps necessary to ensuring our open records laws are unchanged.”

Many questions remain about the Republicans’ motion to put new and unprecedented restrictions on public access to government records. The timing of the Republicans’ attack on open government comes as Governor Walker is set to formally announce he is running for president on Monday. In recent years, open records requests have helped shed light on everything from potential corruption at Governor Walker’s jobs agency to criminal activity that led to the convictions of six of the governor’s former aides as county executive, as well as the revelation that major mining company donors essentially re-wrote large sections of Wisconsin’s environmental laws.

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