Weekly Democratic radio address:
"Celebrate open government with Sunshine Week 2016"
Madison, WI – Today, Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) offered the Democratic weekly radio address on Sunshine Week and the importance of Wisconsin's open records laws.
“Wisconsin had some of the first open records laws in the country. Decisions making sure records of the government were open for inspection in Wisconsin are almost as old as the state itself. " - Sen. Jon Erpenbach
The audio file of this week’s address can be found here:
A written transcript of the address is below:
"Hi this is State Senator Jon Erpenbach. As we celebrate open government with Sunshine Week 2016, I want to tell you a story.
"It was the last day of our committee work on the state budget and there was going to be some surprises, it always happens. But there was one surprise most of the state never saw coming and that was when Republicans tried to kill Wisconsin’s open records laws. Nearly every legislative office record, state public agency record and governors records would all be limited. To close open records laws is simply dangerous.
"Democrats were given only 15 minutes to talk about the Republican motion that gutted the open records. And I spent every single second of my time talking about this. I remember saying that in the future when these Legislators left office and were looking back over their career, it would be this vote, to gut the open records laws, that would be their biggest regret simply because of the damage it would cause the people of Wisconsin.
"Not one Republican vote was swayed by that argument in fact every single one of them on Committee voted in favor of gutting Wisconsin's open records law, including Representative Czaja and Senator Harsdorf. So of course it was a little disappointing to hear that the Wisconsin Newspaper Association honored these two Legislators with awards this year.
"Wisconsin had some of the first open records laws in the country. Decisions making sure records of the government were open for inspection in Wisconsin are almost as old as the state itself. As we are about to embark on Sunshine Week 2016 to celebrate Wisconsin’s open government, I hope that we will all reflect on what happened in a state budget motion in 2015 and how we almost lost this law. Thank you for your time."