Why must it be so hard?

Over and over again we are run up against the wall of bureaucrats making it difficult to obtain copies of public records. As the Journal Sentinel put it: Just follow the law. And the law in Wisconsin is pretty dang clear:

In recognition of the fact that a representative government is dependent upon an informed electorate, it is declared to be the public policy of this state that all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those officers and employees who represent them. Further, providing persons with such information is declared to be an essential function of a representative government and an integral part of the routine duties of officers and employees whose responsibility it is to provide such information. To that end, ss. 19.32 to 19.37 shall be construed in every instance with a presumption of complete public access, consistent with the conduct of governmental business. The denial of public access generally is contrary to the public interest, and only in an exceptional case may access be denied.

Well, maybe “clear” is an overstatement of the readability of the language, but once you parse it out, the meaning is obvious. I like the Wisconsin Statute Summary (plain English version) available at WikiFOIA for quick reference.


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