Wisconsin government corruption
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MADISON, WI Just after 1 a.m., amid protests by labor supporters and Democrats, the Wisconsin Assembly passed a bill that would end collective-bargaining by most state government employees who belong to public sector unions.
Gov. Walker said that the measure was necessary to address the state's $3.6 billion budget shortfall. Walker has set a deadline of Friday for approval of the measure to give the state time to refinance bonds and make a payment on state debt that is due by March 15.
The fate of the bill is unknown as 14 Democratic Senators fled to Illinois to prevent the Senate from voting on the measure. The Senate needs at least one Democratic senator present or does not have the quorum to call a vote.
Madison, WI The court delivered its ruling on Friday, July 17, 2010 for the case of Karen Schill v. Wisconsin Rapids School District. In its 5-2 ruling, the court determined that private emails sent on publicly sponsored email accounts are not public records. The court felt that because the emails were personal in nature, they did not fall within the intention of the Wisconsin Open Records Law, which is to make transparent only the workings of government. However, the dissenting justices Patience Roggensack and Annette Ziegler argued that the ruling created a broad exemption for emails and prevented the public from monitoring the activities of public employees at their work stations. Justice Roggensack stated in her dissent, "This broad exception prevents the public from discovering what public employees are doing during the workday, in the workplace, using equipment purchased with public funds." The ruling may set a precedent for other states as they move to address the question of emails on public computers.
Milwaukee, WI On Wednesday, November 11, 2009, the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee student newspaper filed a lawsuit in district court, alleging that the University's redaction of student names from Union Policy Board meeting minutes and audio files constituted a violation of the Wisconsin Open Records Law. The newspaper had requested all the agenda's, meeting minutes and audio recordings of the meetings back to August 1, 2008. The University released all of the requested documents, but heavily redacted the information to remove student information which, they argue, is exempt under Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act(FERPA). The newspaper seeks the full documents and legal fees 
MILWAUKEE, WI Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen was on the last stop of his statewide tour talking on the issue of compliance with Wisconsin’s Open Records Laws.
During a seminar at the Milwaukee State Office Building on September 27, 2010, the fourth-year Attorney General and a team of FOIA experts talked about the seriousness of complying with FOIA laws in Wisconsin.
Madison, Wisconsin: Because of information found on staffers' personal emails, state senator Dan Kapanke R-La Crosse, was ordered on September 11 to pay a fine in the amount of $100 for misallocating funds. The settlement added $38,000 in legal fees to be paid by Kapanke to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, and it will be paid by the Department of Administration's risk management fund. Kapanke will personally pay the $100 fine.
The settlement in Dane County Circuit Court is a result of a public records request about an economic forum Kapanke held in June, 2009 that was originally intended to be sponsored by Kapanke's office, but ended up being paid for by campaign funds. The Government Accountability Board had ruled that one of Kapanke's staffers failed to request vacation time to work at the event. June 3 and June 8 emails referring to the forum were requested by the DPW who suspected that the event was campaign related. Kapanke's office responded to the order of the WGAB, claiming the emails did not exist. Further investigation by the Legislative Technology Services Bureau did find an email listing the event in Kapanke's chief of staff's personal email account.
Madison, WI On July 28, 2010, Wisconsin Attorney General, J.B. Van Hollen issued a memo this week commenting on the Wisconsin Supreme Court's decision in Karen Schill v. Wisconsin Rapids School District. The July 16 5-2 decision held that private emails sent on public computers via public email accounts did not fall under the definition of public records and were thus exempt from the law. The AG stated in his memo that this new exemption should be construed narrowly, arguing that, "If there is any aspect of the e-mail that may shed light on governmental functions and responsibilities, the relevant content must be released as any other record would be released under the Public Records Law." The AG also encouraged citizens to continue to use public records requests to monitor email use, by requesting statistics like the number of business versus personal emails sent in a given day. 
To read more about the original case, please see Wisconsin Supreme Court exempts private emails sent on government issued accounts.
In Wausau, WI, an open records request was made to release the texts of emails of five teachers. The citizen who filed the request, was concerned about the conduct of teachers in the local school district. 
In February of 2008, the Wisconsin chapter of Club for Growth performed an open records request on the State of Wisconsin Judicial Integrity Campaign Committee, a nonpartisan project created by the State Bar of Wisconsin. The request obtained emails of the eight members of the Wisconsin Judicial Integrity Campaign Committee, over an ethics discussion of the Wisconsin Supreme Court Race (2008) was accused by Wisconsin Club for Growth as a "blatant attempt to railroad the campaign for the conservative pick." 
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