Wow. I’ve had a very busy few days and haven’t kept up on the news as much as usual. Apparently, I was away for this entire fiasco where the Republican-led Joint Finance Committee passed some sweeping changes to the open records laws that would insulate politicians from scrutiny; then people from every part of the political spectrum protested; then Walker and the Republicans waffled for a day or so with some mishmash political drivel; and then, today, they fully reversed themselves and pledged to take the changes out of the budget.
Faced with a swift and fierce backlash, Republicans Saturday abandoned a plan that would have gutted the state’s open records law.
In a joint statement issued Saturday afternoon, Gov. Scott Walker and GOP legislative leaders said the provisions relating to any changes to the law would be removed from the state budget.
“After substantive discussion over the last day, we have agreed that the provisions relating to any changes in the state’s open records law will be removed from the budget in its entirety. We are steadfastly committed to open and accountable government,” the statement read. “The intended policy goal of these changes was to provide a reasonable solution to protect constituents’ privacy and to encourage a deliberative process between elected officials and their staff in developing policy. It was never intended to inhibit transparent government in any way.”
The announcement came from Walker, but it was also attributed to Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester), Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette). Darling and Nygren are co-chairs of the Joint Finance Committee.
Not only was this horrible policy, but it was stunningly bad politics. Dumb, dumb, dumb…