Shankland, Democrats push new bill to prohibit policy issues from budget bill
By Larry Lee, WSAU Radio
MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- The late additions to the state budget bill Thursday night attempting to change open records law exemptions is still drawing criticism from all Democrats and many Republicans. Even though the proposal was hastily withdrawn, it has prompted several responses. Media members have filed open records requests trying to find out who wanted the open records law changed. Government watchdog groups are continuing to dig into where it came from. The minority party Democrats are also proposing legislation that would put an end to non-fiscal policy issues being placed in the budget, as both parties have often done when in the majority.
The short-lived proposal to change the open records law exemptions drew criticism from Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel, and several Republican legislators say they were not aware of what leadership inserted in the budget amendment until they saw media reports.
Shankland says there is nothing wrong with the existing guidelines for open records, and they don't belong in a budget bill. "To provide such a drastic, radical, sweeping change to a strong open government law that most people in the state, whether Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, Independent support is, in my mind, wrong, and I don't support any kind of change."
Shankland says if this bill were already signed into law, it would have forced non-fiscal policy issues such as the battle over maintaining the IRIS Program into a separate public hearing where legislators, experts, and constituents could testify and share information.