Governor Walker issues statement on Senator Fitzgerald statements to media on open records

Senator Fitzgerald has said Governor Walker's staff and his staff were involved in drafting the proposed changes to open records laws.

Governor Scott Walker's office released this statement:

Legislative leaders let us know that they were interested in making changes to the open records law.  In response, our staff provided input regarding these proposed changes.

Our intent with these changes was to encourage a deliberative process with state agencies in developing policy and legislation.  This allows for robust debate with state agencies and public employees over the merit of policies and proposed initiatives as they are being formed, while ensuring materials related to final proposals, as well as information related to external stakeholders seeking to influence public policy, would remain fully transparent.

Our focus remains on ensuring open and accountable government and we encourage public debate and discussion of any potential future changes to the state's open records law.

Governor Scott Walker previously issued a statement on July 4 about the measure aimed at adding numerous new protections for state representatives and their staff and would limit access to public information.

The measure was introduced late July 2 by the Joint Finance Committee. 

The measure would have kept draft bills and other official documents secret and given lawmakers the ability to keep communication private. 

The July 4 statement reads:

After substantive discussion over the last day, we have agreed that the provisions relating to any changes in the state's open records law will be removed from the budget in its entirety.  We are steadfastly committed to open and accountable government.  The intended policy goal of these changes was to provide a reasonable solution to protect constituent's privacy and to encourage a deliberative process between elected officials and their staff in developing policy.  It was never intended to inhibit transparent government in any way. In order to allow for further debate on this issue outside of budget process, the Legislature will form a Legislative Council committee to more appropriately study it and allow for public discussion and input.

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