Openness Report

The Wisconsin Openness Report, a weekly newsletter produced by the WNA, highlights coverage of public records, open meetings and First Amendment issues. If you’ve recently written a story about open government or free speech, please email us at Julia.Hunter@wnanews.com.

Fire Marshal’s Office denies open records request

ASHLAND – Months after announcing an Ashland house fire was sparked by an electrical problem, the state Fire Marshal’s Office has denied an open records request from The Daily Press for related records, citing an ongoing investigation. Initially, the state Department of Criminal Investigation was contacted by the city to investigate a potential connection to…

Nominations sought for 2019 Opee Awards

The Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, a nonprofit group that works to protect access to public meetings and records, is now accepting nominations for its annual Openness in Government Awards, or Opees. Awards are given in six categories: Popee (political openness award): Recognizes extraordinary service to the cause of open government by an elected or…

Grafton eyeing change to open records policy

GRAFTON – The village of Grafton is considering a policy that would charge for the staff time involved with fulfilling open records requests, the (Cedarburg) News Graphic has reported. The move comes as the number of open records inquiries has increased, wrote the News Graphic‘s Melanie Boyung. According to the state’s public records law, fees are limited…

Judge orders Sauk County to release records to newspaper

BARABOO – In a 32-page decision filed Friday, a Green Lake County judge sharply criticized Sauk County officials over repeatedly denying records requests from the Baraboo News Republic. The newspaper filed a lawsuit in 2017 seeking documents related to the death of a man on government-condemned land. Controversies over the hiring and firing of the county’s top…

Ozaukee Press rejects judge’s retraction demand

PORT WASHINGTON – In the latest twist to a bizarre courthouse saga, Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Joseph Voiland has demanded the (Port Washington) Ozaukee Press retract stories published about the investigations he prompted and their conclusions, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Voiland claims the stories were false and libelous. “This just fits his pattern of…