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Dear Editor: Last week, 12 members of the budget committee voted to gut the state’s open records laws. A few days after, the legislative leaders and the governor agreed to delete the action of the dirty dozen from the budget.

Let’s take this a step further and make sure that Wisconsin government is completely open to citizens and the press. Let’s outlaw the secret party caucuses, where most of the real debates and decisions in the Wisconsin Legislature are currently made.

Rep. Cory Mason has introduced a bill (AB-153) that would require the caucuses to be open. He explains: “On days the Legislature is in session, both parties in both houses of the Legislature split into partisan groups to discuss the day’s calendar. Under the law, legislators are allowed to regularly close these meetings to public view. When the Legislature consistently closes its key meetings to the public, the actual deliberation of legislation and its likely outcome is predetermined behind closed doors, obscuring it from public view and depriving the Legislature of genuine debate.”

Currently zero senators and only 18 of the 99 representatives have endorsed this bill. Ask your legislators to co-sponsor AB-153, and ask for a public hearing.

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Paul Malischke

Madison

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