Boots & Sabers

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2105, 22 Jul 15

Speaker Vos Asked for Open Records Changes


Assembly Speaker Robin Vos requested the controversial changes to the state’s open records law that would have significantly diminished the public’s ability to monitor how its government works, records obtained by the State Journal show.

Vos is cited as the “draft requester” for the legislation in a June 29 email from Legislative Reference Bureau attorney Michael Gallagher to the offices of legislative leadership and to staff on the Legislative Council and in the state’s fiscal and reference bureaus.

The email is among about 1,000 pages of documents obtained on Wednesday by the State Journal from the office of Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau.

It provides the clearest evidence yet of the origin of the records proposal, and shows Vos’s office coordinated the drafting of the ultimate bill language.

Of course, the offensive language that ended up in front of Joint Finance wasn’t the same as the original request, but at least we know who started it.


2105, 22 July 2015


  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    I knew it!

    He should resign as leader.

    Walker deserves extra credit for taking responsibility for Vos’s debacle!

  2. steveegg

    Two words – Panzer him!

  3. dad29

    I smell Boehner-itis.

  4. Kevin Scheunemann


    I was happy when we got rid of Mary Panzer around here. That really marked the start of the rise of good conservative power in WI.

    Vos has been a disappointment at the height of conservative power in WI, but he still is not anywhere near as liberal as Mary Panzer was.

    Vos may be in danger of a conservative challenge in his district if he doesn’t shape up soon.

  5. Nashotah Conservative


    Robin Vos is definitely not liberal. Robin’s problem is that Robin is always interested in doing what is best for Robin… not what is best for Wisconsin.

    I think he’s become so obsessed with putting together his coalition for 2018 as he fancies himself as Governor that he’s slipping in his current role.

    I think being the leader of a legislative body, where your job is to “get things done” can be a major disadvantage later in a political career when trying to get through a very divisive primary. How many former Senate Majority Leaders or Congressional/Assembly Speakers have become President/Governor? I’d venture not many.

    If the race in 2018 is Kleefisch, Vos, and Farrow, it will be very interesting who comes out of that race. Personally, I think that Farrow would be the most formidable candidate of that group (given his executive experience that neither Kleefisch and Vos have)

    I’d think that the Dems (who I suspect will nominate Abele) would be licking their chops over Vos.

    Abele/Vos would actually an interesting battle. A fiscal conservative, anti-union Democrat versus a spendthrift pro-prevailing wage republican

  6. Northern Pike

    Vos may have requested the change, but Gov. Walker’s office is conducting itself as if the law actually got passed. It just sent a dozen letters to various news organizations denying access to internal discussions because making them public would “inhibit the free exchange of ideas.”

    In other words, the “free exchange of ideas” occurs in secret. What Walker, Vos, Fitzgerald and friends tell the public is … well … something less.

  7. Recess Supervisor

    Vos’ name might be on it but any proposal at that point in the process is going to have either Vos or Fitzgerald’s name on it. In terms of procedure, his participation is a likely a necessary condition of moving a proposal that late in the game, but it’s hardly sufficient to cite him as being the principal agent.

    Also, to Nashotah’s point, Abele would be a terrible candidate for governor, and I’m not sure the Dems trust him all that much. But to that end, I’d keep my eye on Tom Nelson, the former state representative from Appleton and the current Outagamie County Executive. Nelson’s transition into an executive role in an area where Democrats need to perform well in statewide races to be competitive was smart. It also moved him from a partisan body to a place where he can focus his campaign on results.

    The GOP should recognize the play call; it’s the same one Scott Walker used to get ahead.

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