Walker and GOP legislators drop controversial changes to open records law after bipartisan backlash
MADISON — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he and GOP legislative leaders have agreed to completely remove a part of the proposed state budget that would severely roll back the state’s open records laws.
Walker announced the decision in a joint statement Saturday, July 4th with Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, and the co-chairs of the joint budget committee.
The statement says the records proposal “will be removed from the budget in its entirety.” They say the plan “was never intended to inhibit transparent government in any way.”
The restrictions, which Republicans slipped into the proposed budget late Thursday, would exempt nearly everything created by government officials from Wisconsin’s open records law.
The statement says the Legislature will form a committee to study the issue and allow for public discussion.
Governor Scott Walker, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, and the Joint Finance Committee Co-Chairs, Senator Alberta Darling and Representative John Nygren, released the following statement on the provisions to the state’s open records law included in Motion 999:
“After substantive discussion over the last day, we have agreed that the provisions relating to any changes in the state’s open records law will be removed from the budget in its entirety. We are steadfastly committed to open and accountable government. The intended policy goal of these changes was to provide a reasonable solution to protect constituents’ privacy and to encourage a deliberative process between elected officials and their staff in developing policy. It was never intended to inhibit transparent government in any way.”
“In order to allow for further debate on this issue outside of budget process, the Legislature will form a Legislative Council committee to more appropriately study it and allow for public discussion and input.”