Wisconsin gets a “D” in ranking of legislative websites

Among advocates for open government, it is often said that public officials should not get kudos for doing the minimum. If the law requires a certain degree of openness and the authorities oblige, they might avoid a kick in the shin but won’t likely get a pat on the back. That may be the operative theory behind the “D” rating awarded the Wisconsin Legislature in a new 50-state ranking of legislative websites produced by the Sunlight Foundation, a national nonprofit group that promotes government transparency.

Don’t hike cost of public records

A ruling last year by the Wisconsin Supreme Court involving the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel became the focus of attention Feb. 27, when a state Assembly committee held a public hearing on a bill, AB 26, that would drastically increase the cost of obtaining public records. The bill, if approved, would let custodians of public records charge a fee for redacting sensitive information.

Legislature oversteps with new rules

new rules recently passed by the state Assembly and state Senate go beyond preserving decorum and ensuring order. They impede the ability of citizens to participate in their democracy and offer fresh proof, if any were needed, that the Legislature feels no need to follow the rules it has put in place for others.