Open records law showcased in “Sunshine Week” tour

Monday begins Sunshine Week, which emphasizes the critical importance of the state’s open records law.

The law, which is in peril in Wisconsin, gives the media and the public access to public records. Democracy depends on government transparency, because without it taxpayers and voters can’t know how elected officials are conducting the people’s business.

Advocates of open government in Wisconsin are planning an eight-city tour to highlight the importance of the state’s open records law in the wake of unprecedented attacks from state lawmakers. Last summer, Gov. Scott Walker and the state’s Republican leadership tried to sneak a measure into the budget that would have blocked public access to everything created by state and local government officials, including drafts of legislation and communications with staff.

The Sunshine Week tour will include representatives of the Center for Media and Democracy, the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, the Madison chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, the MacIver Institute for Public Policy, and the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

The traveling show will take place in the following locations:

La Crosse: March 15, 2 p.m. La Crosse Public Library. Local sponsor: La Crosse Tribune.

Eau Claire: March 15, 7 p.m. Centennial Hall, Room 1614, UW-Eau Claire. Local sponsor: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, UW-Eau Claire chapter, Society of Professional Journalists

Wausau: March 16, 10 a.m. Marathon County Public Library. Local sponsor: Wausau Daily Herald-USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Green Bay: March 16, 2 p.m. Green Bay Public Library. Local Sponsor: Green Bay Press-Gazette-USA TODAY NETWORK-WISCONSIN

Appleton: March 16, 7:30 p.m. Appleton Public Library. Local sponsor: Appleton Post-Crescent-USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Sheboygan: March 17, 10 a.m. Sheboygan Public Library. Local sponsor: Sheboygan Press-USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Waukesha: March 17, 2 p.m, Waukesha Public Library. Local sponsor: Schott, Bublitz and Engel S.C.

Janesville: March 17, 7 p.m. Blackhawk Technical College. Local sponsor: Janesville Gazette