Cara Harshman via a friend’s email:
On the heels of an open records requests in Michigan that publicized an extramarital affair of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Madison city officials are looking to set standards for changing technologies in the city.
After a year of detailed study and work, Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and Ald. Zach Brandon, District 7, will introduce an ordinance to the City Council later this month clarifying the forms of electronic communication city employees use that are open to the public.
Rapidly changing electronic communication technology, like text messages, instant messages and Facebook prompted Brandon to ask, “What is an open record and what is not an open record?”
Currently, the Wisconsin public record law says electronic communications are open records, but does not specify which types of electronic communication are included, Brandon said.
“[The city] has gone the extra step to define what that means,” Brandon said. Bill Lueders, president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council said the city essentially used the state’s record law as a model to update its own open records law.
This will certainly be more fodder for the courts. Much more on Wisconsin open records here.