Office of Open Government
In June of 2015, the attorney general established the Office of Open Government to ensure that the Department of Justice preserves the proud tradition of open government in Wisconsin. Wisconsin's open government laws promote democracy by ensuring that all state, regional and local governments conduct their business with transparency. Wisconsin citizens have a right to know how their government is spending their tax dollars and exercising the powers granted by the people. These pages are a resource for the public to understand and exercise their right to access their government.
- March 17, 2020 - Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Open Meetings advisory addresses the application of the open meetings law during the public health situation regarding COVID-19.
- March 20, 2020 - Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Open Meetings advisory addresses technological and practical issues that governmental bodies should consider in advance of meetings.
- March 15, 2021 - Sunshine Week Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Open Meetings advisory encourages governmental bodies to make open meetings accessible remotely until the pandemic is over and, following the pandemic, to continue using practices developed during the pandemic that increase transparency.
Tips on Open Meetings During COVID-19
Members of governmental bodies can promote public health by staying home AND ensure that government business is conducted transparently.
- Open meetings can be conducted by teleconference or videoconference.
- BUT, meetings conducted remotely must be reasonably accessible to the public.
When conducting a meeting remotely:
- You must follow notice requirements under state law.
- Notice must include the info needed for remote access, such as teleconference dial-in information or a video link and any necessary passcodes or login information.
- If the meeting is via videoconference or internet-based, strongly consider providing a telephone option.
- Facilitate reasonable access for people who cannot attend remotely.
- The meeting chair should ask all members to identify themselves before speaking and not to speak over one another.
- When possible, record the meeting and promptly make the recording publicly available on social media or a website.
If you have comments or questions about these laws that are not addressed on this website, please contact the Office of Open Government at 608-267-2220. Information about your question or concern will be obtained by a staff member, and an assistant attorney general will be in contact with you.
You may also write to the Office of Open Government at:
Office of Open Government
Wisconsin Department of Justice
P.O. Box 7857
Madison, WI 53707-7857
When writing please clearly identify whether your concern relates to open meetings or public records, so that your correspondence is routed appropriately. Also, please enclose copies of related correspondence and other documents that will assist in understanding your concerns.
In an effort to manage the high call volume to the Office of Open Government due to COVID-19, please read the advisories above, which may have the answers to your questions, before placing your call. Thank you for your cooperation.
Public Records/Open Meetings (PROM) Help Line: 608-267-2220