Monday - March 20, 2017 9:07 am

Wisconsin lawmakers circumvent open meeting laws

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It seems that no matter how many laws we may pass to try to hold our politicians accountable, our lawmakers inevitably find a way around them. For example, there are a number of laws which require those we elect to public office do the people's business in public. Meetings where decisions are made about our tax dollars are to be held in a forum where we can watch and even participate. But in Wisconsin, it is becoming increasingly common for our state representatives to try to remain in the shadows. This week in Madison, Republicans serving on the Budget Committee will meet in private to discuss the Governor's budget proposal. But because only Republican lawmakers are invited to this closed-door discussion, there will not be a quorum of the committee, and therefore, technically, it does not violate the state's open meetings laws. But it sure isn't right. What do they want to say in private that they don't want to say in public? Why the need for secrecy? Unfortunately, this tactic is becoming more common. Members of the Assembly Corrections Committee circumvented the law by taking turns in groups touring the state's troubled youth prison so as to keep their meeting private. There is a reason we have laws designed to keep the public informed. These troubling tactics may not violate the letter of the law, but certainly violate the spirit of the law.

Scott Robert Shaw

Scott Robert Shaw is the Program Director for both 1410 WIZM and 580 WKTY.   He's currently the morning news anchor on 1410 WIZM, Z93 and 95-7 The Rock.  He joined Mid-West Family Broadcasting as a reporter/anchor in 1989 and served as News Director from 1990-2015.   He's been the winner of several Wisconsin Broadcaster's Association awards for Best Editorial in Wisconsin.  He enjoys traveling, bicycling and cooking.

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