MADISON - Wisconsin lawmakers on Wednesday sent Gov. Tony Evers legislation that could make it harder to get records about lawmakers who are disciplined or accused of harassment, government transparency experts warn.
The measure would formally create a human resources office for the state Legislature and says disciplinary records and complaints against lawmakers should be treated confidentially, bolstering a legislative practice of withholding complaints against lawmakers.
The proposal passed the Senate Wednesday and goes to Evers just as a Dane County Judge ruled that Assembly leaders violated the public records law by withholding a sexual harassment complaint against a Democratic lawmaker after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other news outlets sued seeking the records.
"This greatly magnifies the concern that I have over the proposed human resources office," Bill Lueders, president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, said. "The Legislature is trying to change the law after getting caught breaking it."