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Wisconsin Public Records and Open Meetings Handbook

Product ID: AE0199_SUB
Published By: State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE
ISBN: 978-1-57862-640-3

In Wisconsin, there is a statutory presumption in favor of access to governmental records and meetings. But there are limits to that access. If you don't know what these limits and rights are, you need The Wisconsin Public Records and Open Meetings Handbook.

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In Wisconsin, there is a statutory presumption in favor of access to governmental records and meetings. But there are limits to that access. If you don't know what these limits and rights are, you need The Wisconsin Public Records and Open Meetings Handbook.

Read More ↓

544+ pp.; 7th ed. 2021-22
(Includes 2022-23 and 2023-24 supplements)

I. Public Records Law

  1. Overview of Wisconsin’s Public Records Law
  2. Making and Responding to a Public Records Request
  3. Privileges
  4. Access to Personnel Records in the Custody of a Public Official
  5. Law Enforcement Records
  6. Pupil and Juvenile Records in the Possession of a School District
  7. Contractors’ Records
  8. Fees a Records Custodian May Charge
  9. Enforcement
  10. Issues Involving Electronic Public Records
  11. Freedom of Information Act

II. Open Meetings Law

  1. Coverage of the Open Meetings Law
  2. Definition of "Meeting"
  3. Accessibility and Openness
  4. Notice
  5. Voting and Record Keeping
  6. Closed Meetings
  7. Enforcement and Penalties

Appendices

  1. Selected Public Records and Open Meetings Rules and Statutes
  2. Sample Notices Concerning Record Requests
  3. Key Cases
  4. Statutory Exceptions
  5. City of Baraboo Joint Review Board Meeting: Public Notice
  6. Verified Open Meetings Law Complaint
  7. Article: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Verbal Conversation and Decreasing Your Legal Liability

The 2023-2024 supplement includes a number of changes, such as:

  • New laws are designed to protect the personal information of “judicial officers”
  • Most records containing personally identifiable information about certain election officials are exempt from disclosure under the public records law
  • In 2023, different districts of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals issued two decisions regarding whether a requester is entitled to Notice of Voter Eligibility forms in the possession of county registers in probate
  • In 2023, the Wisconsin Supreme Court revisited the process by which criminal defendants could obtain in camera review of otherwise privileged mental health records

 In addition, appendix A1 (reprinting Wis. Stat. ch. 19) has been updated.

The 2022-2023 supplement includes a number of changes, such as:

  • The Wisconsin Court of Appeals analyzed whether a hospital was a “record subject” for the purpose of appealing a circuit court’s determination that an authority improperly withheld a record
  • A new section discusses potentially inappropriate uses of public records laws, as reported in the news media and considered in a few Wisconsin cases
  • The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s opinion in Friends of Frame Park, U.A. v. City of Waukesha substantially altered the traditional method for courts’ evaluation of recovery of attorney fees.

All citations have been updated.

The 2021-2022 revision includes a number of changes, such as the following:

  • The Wisconsin Supreme Court will be issuing a decision in a case in which the court of appeals analyzed whether a draft of a contract that a city was negotiating with a private entity was subject to disclosure under Wisconsin’s public records law
  • The Wisconsin Court of Appeals noted the instances when a record subject has a statutory right to receive notice and seek pre-release judicial review of a response to a public records request
  • The Wisconsin Court of Appeals decided whether internal-affairs files of a sheriff’s deputy could be released in response to a public records request
  • The Wisconsin Legislature adopted Wis. Stat. § 165.87, which governs the use of law enforcement body cameras

All citations and appendices A–F have been updated.

State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE® is the premier publisher of practice guides and handbooks for Wisconsin's attorneys, written by Wisconsin's attorneys. PINNACLE relies on the expertise and contributions of volunteers from within the State Bar of Wisconsin membership to help develop and deliver timely, relevant information to assist Wisconsin's attorneys provide the highest-quality representation and service.

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Books UnBound® is the exclusive online digital resource from State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE® books that Wisconsin attorneys have trusted and relied on for decades, including all the “brown binders” and other treatises, the Wisconsin Attorney’s Desk Reference, Wisconsin Judicial Benchbooks, and now all of our most recent books previously released in print only. Featuring a fast, user-friendly interface protected by two-factor authentication, a powerful search function, an expanded notes feature, and one-click access to Fastcase and other primary law resources, Books UnBound is a one-stop shop for all your legal research needs.

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