Public Records Should Be Easier to Find Under Wisconsin Governor's Order

by | March 13, 2017

By Molly Beck

Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday issued an executive order making it easier for the public to find state government notices and meeting minutes.

Walker in his order also asked state agencies to post the most commonly requested documents online to be readily available to the public, and to post how quickly their officials respond to records requests under the state's open records law.

The order comes ahead of Sunshine Week, a national celebration of open government that begins Sunday.

Walker's order requires the Department of Administration to improve the state's public notice website by requiring all state government public notices and meeting minutes to be uploaded to the site.

The order also requires each agency to post the total number of public records requests received, the total number of requests the agency responded to and the average time it took to fulfill the request.

State officials also will create and manage a single email address for agencies to use to send their meeting notices and minutes and all agency public records email addresses will be posted on www.wisconsin.gov, according to the order.

Walker's order expands on one he issued in 2016 that required agencies to use a system to track records requests and the average response time, among other measures to improve transparency.

The 2016 order came months after he helped draft legislation, later withdrawn, to severely restrict the kind of information the public can use to learn about how state and local governments work on behalf of taxpayers.

(c)2017 The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wis.)