Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council

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Jan. 15, 2008

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Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council 

Minutes of the Jan. 15, 2008 meeting,

Capital Newspapers, Madison, Wis.

Present: Frederick M. Olsen III, Doug Wojcik, Hank Koshollek, Gina Duwe, Dee Hall, Thomas Koetting, Ann Frisch, Bob Drechsel, Christa Westerberg, Bob Dreps, Bill Lueders, Tom Bier, John Laabs, Dave Zweifel, Peter Fox, Craig Swanson, Roger Schneider, Dave Pyle.

Meeting called to order at 1:36 p.m.

Minutes and treasurer's report were approved.

President's report:
Bill Lueders is still waiting for an opinion on the Drivers Data letter sent July 3.

Rep. Mark Gundrum left for his Iraq military obligation and should be back in 11 months. There won't be anything done on police records until he returns.

The National Freedom of Information Council is celebrating Sunshine Week with FOI "Heroes of the 50 states." Lueders nominated Brian Buswell of Tomah, who filed suit about the nonspecific agendas of the Tomah School Board, as Wisconsin's nominee.

Nominations for the OPEE (openness) awards were discussed.

Frederick Olson discussed concerns he has about Public Radio's attitude toward public disagreement.

Lueders reported that the UW System has taken salaries off its Web site. Bob Dreps said that was done in response to a court action about the release of represented employee salaries.

Court cases:
The Zien/Gunderson cases about whether bill drafts should be public are pending. The WireData case about whether records compiled by a contractor working for government are public was argued before the Wisconsin Supreme Court on March 13.

The Sands and Beaver Dam cases are awaiting Supreme Court decisions. The Portage Daily Register case is awaiting a decision from the Court of Appeals.

A Sauk County Board member is suing that county's sheriff for refusing to provide information about the jail population. It's been an ongoing dispute for about nine months. E-mail Lueders for information about the case.

A federal reporter's shield law passed the House and a Senate Committee. It faces a likely presidential veto.

Lueders said Wisconsin has a public records board that is trying to come up with a policy on retention of e-mail messages.

Legislative update:
Peter Fox reported on Assembly Bill 582 and Senate Bill 335. The issue is whether to keep public notices in newspaper or shift to government Web sites.

The Wisconsin Newspaper Association has worked with the Wisconsin Counties Association, the League of Municipalities and the Alliance of Cities to come up with plain language notices about new laws.

The meeting was adjourned at 3:07 p.m.

- Submitted by Dick Mial, FOIC secretary