This is " sunshine week " in Wisconsin and the nation. Nothing to do with weather, it refers instead to an effort to safeguard the public's right to know what government is doing at all levels. "Overall I would say in terms of state and local materials, we're still in a pretty good situation in Wisconsin," says Robert Drexel with the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council . The picture is not quite as good at the federal level; Drexel says the Bush administration has shown more of a presumption against access to government information. He says the federal Freedom of Information law is "riddled with exemptions."
Drexel says fees for information are another trend to watch out for. "Any sort of movement toward increasing fees or adding fees that weren't there before, I think is . . . undesirable." Language in Governor Jim Doyle's proposed budget would allow charging the public a fee for access to the state's criminal records website . Drexel says he hopes that provision is cut from the final budget.