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Open Government Advocate Critical Of Proposed Public Information Restrictions

Lueders Says Action 'A Wholesale Gutting Of The Open Records Law'

Jerome G11 (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The head of Wisconsin’s Freedom of Information Council said a motion passed by Republican state lawmakers on Thursday night amounts to “a wholesale gutting of the open records law.”

The plan that passed the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee would let lawmakers restrict access to nearly all documents used to develop legislation. It would also let legislators prevent staff or former staff from disclosing information.

Freedom of Information Council President Bill Lueders said it was “cowardly” for lawmakers to add this to the budget at the last minute.

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“This is simply a way that the Legislature can avoid being embarrassed by its own actions,” said Lueders.

While no Republicans claimed the plan as their own, they all voted for it. The measure would still need the full Legislature and the governor to sign off before becoming law.