Office of Open Government - Resources


Open Meetings Law

Wisconsin's Open Meetings Law, enacted in 1976, attempts to promote openness in government and to provide Wisconsin citizens with an opportunity to observe and educate themselves about their government's operations.

Wisconsin Open Meetings Law Compliance Guide (2019)[PDF]

Wisconsin Open Meetings Law Presentation (2016)[PDF]

Wis. Stat. §§ 19.81 to 19.98 (Wisconsin Open Meetings Law)


Public Records Law

Wisconsin's Public Records Law took much of its present form in 1981 and is in place to provide the public with reasonable access to public records at reasonable costs.

Wisconsin Public Records Law Compliance Guide (2019)[PDF]

Wisconsin Public Records Presentation (2016)[PDF]

Wis. Stat. §§ 19.31 to 19.39 (Wisconsin Public Records Law)


Attorney General's Open Government Summit

Handout (2015)

Presentation (2015) [PPT]

Media Law Resource Center's Model Policy on Police Body-Worn Camera Footage


Wisconsin Stat. § 19.77 Annual Summary

2018 Summary

2017 Summary [PDF]

2016 Summary [PDF]
2015 Summary [PDF]


Sample Documents

These samples are provided for illustrative purposes only. Always review applicable legal requirements and consider the unique factual circumstances presented by a specific situation.

Public Records Request Clarification Letter Sample 1[PDF] | Sample 2[PDF]

Public Records Request Prepayment Letter[PDF]

Pre-release Notice: Required by Wis. Stat. § 19.356(2)(a)1. Sample 1[PDF] | Sample 2[PDF]

Pre-release Notice: Required by Wis. Stat. § 19.356(9)[PDF]

Pre-release Notice: Courtesy Notice[PDF]


Additional Guidance: Office of Open Government Advisories

Fee advisory addresses permissible fee practices under the public records law.

School safety grant application advisory addresses the release of school safety grant application materials under the public records law.


Additional Guidance: Attorney General Opinions and Memoranda

OAG-02-18 (Feb. 23, 2018)[PDF] This formal opinion addresses four issues regarding the administration of Wis. Stat. § 19.356(2)(a)(1) and (9), provisions of the Wisconsin Public Records Law pertaining to notice.

OAG-07-14 (Oct. 15, 2014)[PDF] This formal opinion provides guidance on the application of Wis. Stat. § 19.356(9), which requires notice to public officials before an authority permits access to certain records.

OAG-05-14 (Oct. 15, 2014)[PDF] This formal opinion discusses applicability of Wisconsin's open meetings law to the activities of the election canvassing board.

Memorandum (Jan. 14, 2013)[PDF] The Wisconsin Supreme Court decision in Juneau County Star-Times v. Juneau County is explained in this informational memorandum.

Memorandum (Apr. 27, 2012)[PDF] This memorandum addresses how 2011 Wisconsin Act 283 relates to the Wisconsin Public Records Law.

Memorandum (July 28, 2010)[PDF] The practical impact of the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision in Schill v. Wisconsin Rapids School District on public records custodians and public records requesters is discussed.

I-06-09 (Dec. 23, 2009)[PDF]This informal opinion discusses how the content of a social website maintained by a government official and used to discuss government business likely is a public record.

OAG 7-09 (Nov. 16, 2009)[PDF] This formal opinion answers questions about Wis. Stat. § 12.13(5) prohibition against disclosure of certain records and investigative information related to possible violations of Wisconsin elections, lobbying, and ethics laws.

I-02-09 (Mar. 19, 2009)[PDF] This informal opinion provides guidance for analyzing whether an entity constitutes a “quasi-governmental corporation” that is an “authority” subject to the Wisconsin Public Records Law.

I-02-08 (Apr. 29, 2008)[PDF] The intersection of the Wisconsin Public Records Law with the federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act is discussed in this informal opinion.

I-03-07 (Sept. 27, 2007)[PDF] This informal opinion discusses the intersection of federal medical records privacy rules and Wisconsin law regarding access to records. 


All formal Attorney General opinions may be found in the opinion archive.