Gov. Scott Walker highlighted openness in Wisconsin's government with a proclamation for Sunshine Week this week.
Sunshine Week is celebrated annually, nationwide, to promote open government and greater access to public records.
"We are committed to openness and transparency in this administration," Walker said. "Since we took office in 2011, my office has released more than 6.2 million pages of records to the public, and we've gone above and beyond the requirements of the law. I am pleased to honor Sunshine Week, not only with an official proclamation but also with the concrete actions we've taken over the last several years to improve government transparency in Wisconsin."
Walker has issued executive orders directing state agencies to enhance openness. These orders created a requirement for agencies to report the number of public records requests received, completed and the average time taken to fulfill those requests, which is available online at performance.wi.gov/GOV.html.; a requirement to post all open meeting notices and meetings minutes to the Wisconsin public notices website at publicmeetings.wi.gov, a standardization of best practices for fees charged for public records in order to limit the expenses for requesters; and a requirement providing public records resources and training for all employees and members of all boards, councils and commissions attached to agencies; and many other changes.
Earlier this month, the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council awarded Governor Walker with the 2018 Political Openness Award due to the improvements in government openness.
"We greatly appreciate the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council for recognizing our office with the Political Openness Award this year," Walker said.
Attorney General Brad Schimel also recognized National Sunshine Week and celebrated record-breaking benchmarks and accomplishments of the Department of Justice's Office of Open Government in 2017.
In 2017, the Office of Open Government continued its trend by lowering average response times to between 10 and 13 calendar days in both November and December. In the last six months, the average response time has been 12 days.
Schimel created the office in 2015 and dedicated agency resources toward promoting open government across the state in the years since OOG's creation.
"Open government is good government," Schimel said. "Since I established the Office of Open Government in 2015, we have worked hard to respond to records requests faster and found new ways to make government more transparent. I am proud that local and state officials count on our office for advice on how to be more open, and that citizens ask for our help in letting the sun shine through their government."