Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council

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Jan. 27, 2009

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Minutes of Jan. 27, 2009 meeting

Capital Newspapers, Madison, Wis.
 
Present: Dick Mial, Dave Zweifel, Christa Westerberg, Thomas Koetting, Eric Barber, Bob Dreps, Fred Olson, Dee Hall, Gina Duwe, Doug Wojcik, Peter Fox, Bob Drechsel, Bob Welch, Roger Schneider, Anita Weier, Diane Martin, Bill Lueders, Gordon Grovier, Tim Kelley, Andy Hall.
 
Meeting called to order at 1:30 p.m.
Minutes of Oct. 7, 2008 and July 15, 2008 approved.
Treasurer’s report approved.
 
PRESIDENT’S REPORT: Bill Lueders provided nominations for FOIC openness awards.
Citizens Advocate Award: Citizens in Osceola fighting the county board there for secretly trying to sell the county nursing home. The circuit court found against the county board and fined the county.
No Friend of Openness: Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.
Worst Court Case?
Lueders urged members to come up with nominees for all of the “OPPEE” award categories: Public Openness Advocate, Media, Citizen, No Friend of Openness, Worst Open Government Case and Best Scoop for Openness.
 
Former Wisconsin State Journal investigative reporter Andy Hall told council members of a new organization called the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. The goal is to increase the amount and quality of investigative journalism throughout Wisconsin. There is a five-member board of directors, and the organization has partnerships with Wisconsin Public Broadcasting and the University Of Wisconsin School Of Journalism.
The new organization can be contacted at 5006 Vilas Communication Hall, 821 University Ave., Madison, WI 53706. Phone: (608) 262-3642, or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Lueders asked if the new group could develop the “help” section of the FOIC Web site.
 
FOIC Board Membership: The council approved a resolution offered by Bob Welch to amend the bylaws to add a sixth member to the Executive Board. The board will be made up of FOIC officers plus the representatives of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association and Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.
 
There was a discussion about the direction that the FOIC should take, including developing ties with groups that have public-interest issues, including librarians and the League of Women Voters, and the possibility of identifying legislation to support or oppose, and to encourage lawyers to take open government cases on a contingency basis. Christa Westerberg suggested compiling a list of lawyers and firms that do that kind of work.
 
Legislative Update: A bill by Rep. Marlin Schneider would require the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals to hold private conferences in public. (It could have separation of powers problems.)
Realtors are trying to get a change in the law regarding the WIREDATA case, which was about public information compiled by a private company.
 
Gordon Grovier, representing SPJ, is the newest member of the FOIC.
 
The meeting was adjourned at 3:30 p.m.