Openness under attack (Editorial)
Legislators and the state Supreme Court should err on the side of open government.
Wisconsin's tradition of open government is under siege in the Legislature and in a case that the state Supreme Court may consider. Legislators and the state's Supreme Court justices should err on the side of openness.
Legislators slipped a provision into the state budget that would prohibit conflict of interest statements from more than 2,000 public officials from being released by email or fax by state ethics officials to members of the public. Instead, the public would have to show up in person to receive these statements.
Why make it harder for the public to see these public records?
Robin Vos (R-Rochester), co-chairman of the Joint Finance Committee and owner of a popcorn business, said he suspects he has lost business because his competitors have identified some of his customers through his state financial disclosures. He says the change would make it harder for out-of-state competitors to get information about his business.