An open government advocate hopes a state board will reverse itself. Back in August, the state Public Records Board moved to allow for the immediate disposal of “transitory records.” Bill Lueders is President of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council. He thinks the members of the panel may not have been aware of the impact their actions would have.
The board is scheduled to meet in Madison today.
“They probably though they weren’t doing very much in terms of making a change, in fact they said they didn’t think they were doing very much, but immediately the new language was being seized upon by people within the Walker administration to claim broad new powers to destroy certain kinds of records,” Lueders said.
The action drew objections from groups on both sides of Wisconsin’s partisan divide, such as the as the liberal One Wisconsin Now and the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty. The records which have — or could be — included under the board’s actions include visitor logs at the Executive Residence, text messages and emails.
Nearly 1,900 emails and letters protesting the council’s actions were received and posted on-line prior to today’s meeting. The council meets at 1:30 this afternoon at the Risser Justice Building in Madison. Public comment will be allowed but individual speakers will be limited to one minute,
“I don’t think there’s any question that emails need to be preserved, that they are public records and that public officials need to retain them,” Leuders said. “I don’t think that everyone on the board is happy with the fact that it’s being interpreted in that fashion, and I do hope that they put a lid on it.