Co-produced with the Government Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Wisconsin
Your 2020 PROM guide
From municipal meetings plagued by technical problems to delays in records requests, the coronavirus has posed a multitude of challenges to open meetings, records disclosure, and records retention laws.1 The Public Records, Open Meetings Update 2020 will give new and experienced government lawyers the chance to discuss several timely issues in-depth, including the pandemic, as well as review important updates from the past year.
COVID-19 access issues
While federal, state, and local mandates have prompted shutdowns of large gatherings, that doesn’t mean governmental bodies can shut the door on open meeting laws and exclude the public from discussions. Examine lessons learned regarding virtual meetings, taking public comments, and mistakes on public notices. Discuss how officials are handling closed sessions.
Investigate the balancing test
In an effort to boost transparency in policing, pending reform legislation is calling for all uniformed officers to wear body cameras.2 But is all footage captured by police body cams considered to be public data?
Review Wisconsin’s laws on public release of police body cam video. Know the key factors used when using the balancing test to determine whether police footage is subject to disclosure. Understand when redaction may be necessary when fulfilling records’ requests.
Crime victim constitutional amendment
In April, Wisconsin voters approved an amendment that added 17 new crime victims’ rights to the state’s Constitution.3 Review the sweeping changes brought about by Marsy’s Law. Discuss how the amendment has impacted records requests to police departments and district attorneys. Explore emerging issues in public criminal proceedings since the expanded Marsy’s Law went into effect.
Consider how current events are affecting Wisconsinites’ right to know with help from the Public Records, Open Meetings Update 2020.
1Reporters barred. Records delayed. How coronavirus shrouded local government in secrecy
2H.R.7120 - George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020
3Wisconsin Voters Approve State Constitutional Amendment Known As Marsy's Law