By Kent Berkley
Knowledge is power. This centuries-old axiom provides the foundation for freedom of information laws. While the federal freedom of information law receives more media attention, it is state law implemented at the local level that most impacts the daily lives of regular people, because it is local government that provides our basic services. Wisconsin law makes virtually all government records open to inspection as soon as possible and without delay. Bill Lueders of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, says that good law is important, but sometimes governmental agencies need a nudge from the citizenry and the press.
Leuder’s organization generally works to get governments to be as open as possible. However, he says some situations require fact specific determinations to know exactly what should be shared and when.