“Records series" means records that are arranged under a manual or automated filing system, or are kept together as a unit, because they relate to a particular subject, result from the same activity or have a particular form.
“State authority" means an authority that is a state elected official, agency, board, commission, committee, council, department or public body corporate and politic created by constitution, statute, rule or order; a state governmental or quasi-governmental corporation; the supreme court or court of appeals; or the assembly or senate.
Rules of conduct; employee training; and security.
An authority shall do all of the following:
Develop rules of conduct for its employees who are involved in collecting, maintaining, using, providing access to, sharing or archiving personally identifiable information.
Ensure that the persons identified in sub. (1)
know their duties and responsibilities relating to protecting personal privacy, including applicable state and federal laws.
History: 1991 a. 39
Data collection. 19.67(1)(1)
Collection from data subject or verification.
An authority that maintains personally identifiable information that may result in an adverse determination about any individual's rights, benefits or privileges shall, to the greatest extent practicable, do at least one of the following:
Collect the information directly from the individual.
Verify the information, if collected from another person.
History: 1991 a. 39
Collection of personally identifiable information from Internet users.
No state authority that maintains an Internet site may use that site to obtain personally identifiable information from any person who visits that site without the consent of the person from whom the information is obtained. This section does not apply to acquisition of Internet protocol addresses.
History: 2001 a. 16
Computer matching. 19.69(1)(1)
A state authority may not use or allow the use of personally identifiable information maintained by the state authority in a match under a matching program, or provide personally identifiable information for use in a match under a matching program, unless the state authority has specified in writing all of the following for the matching program:
The purpose and legal authority for the matching program.
The justification for the program and the anticipated results, including an estimate of any savings.
A description of the information that will be matched.
Copy to public records board.
A state authority that prepares a written specification of a matching program under sub. (1)
shall provide to the public records board a copy of the specification and any subsequent revision of the specification within 30 days after the state authority prepares the specification or the revision.
Except as provided under par. (b)
, a state authority may not take an adverse action against an individual as a result of information produced by a matching program until after the state authority has notified the individual, in writing, of the proposed action.
A state authority may grant an exception to par. (a)
if it finds that the information in the records series is sufficiently reliable.
This section does not apply to any matching program established between the secretary of transportation and the commissioner of the federal social security administration pursuant to an agreement specified under s. 85.61 (2)
Rights of data subject to challenge; authority corrections. 19.70(1)(1)
Except as provided under sub. (2)
, an individual or person authorized by the individual may challenge the accuracy of a record containing personally identifiable information pertaining to the individual that is maintained by an authority if the individual is authorized to inspect the record under s. 19.35 (1) (a)
and the individual notifies the authority, in writing, of the challenge. After receiving the notice, the authority shall do one of the following:
Concur with the challenge and correct the information.
Deny the challenge, notify the individual or person authorized by the individual of the denial and allow the individual or person authorized by the individual to file a concise statement setting forth the reasons for the individual's disagreement with the disputed portion of the record. A state authority that denies a challenge shall also notify the individual or person authorized by the individual of the reasons for the denial.
This section does not apply to any of the following records:
Any record pertaining to an individual if a specific state statute or federal law governs challenges to the accuracy of the record.
History: 1991 a. 269
; 2013 a. 171
; Stats. 2013 s. 19.70.
Sale of names or addresses.
An authority may not sell or rent a record containing an individual's name or address of residence, unless specifically authorized by state law. The collection of fees under s. 19.35 (3)
is not a sale or rental under this section.
History: 1991 a. 39
Summary of case law and attorney general opinions.
Annually, the attorney general shall summarize case law and attorney general opinions relating to due process and other legal issues involving the collection, maintenance, use, provision of access to, sharing or archiving of personally identifiable information by authorities. The attorney general shall provide the summary, at no charge, to interested persons.
History: 1991 a. 39
Any person employed by an authority who violates this subchapter may be discharged or suspended without pay.
Any person who willfully collects, discloses or maintains personally identifiable information in violation of federal or state law may be required to forfeit not more than $500 for each violation.
Any person who willfully requests or obtains personally identifiable information from an authority under false pretenses may be required to forfeit not more than $500 for each violation.
History: 1991 a. 39
OPEN MEETINGS OF GOVERNMENTAL BODIES
Declaration of policy. 19.81(1)(1)
In recognition of the fact that a representative government of the American type is dependent upon an informed electorate, it is declared to be the policy of this state that the public is entitled to the fullest and most complete information regarding the affairs of government as is compatible with the conduct of governmental business.
To implement and ensure the public policy herein expressed, all meetings of all state and local governmental bodies shall be publicly held in places reasonably accessible to members of the public and shall be open to all citizens at all times unless otherwise expressly provided by law.
In conformance with article IV, section 10
, of the constitution, which states that the doors of each house shall remain open, except when the public welfare requires secrecy, it is declared to be the intent of the legislature to comply to the fullest extent with this subchapter.
This subchapter shall be liberally construed to achieve the purposes set forth in this section, and the rule that penal statutes must be strictly construed shall be limited to the enforcement of forfeitures and shall not otherwise apply to actions brought under this subchapter or to interpretations thereof.
History: 1975 c. 426
; 1983 a. 192
Subsequent to the presentation of evidence by the taxpayer, a board of review's consideration of testimony by the village assessor at an executive session was contrary to the open meeting law. Although it was permissible for the board to convene a closed session for the purpose of deliberating after a quasi-judicial hearing, the proceedings did not constitute mere deliberations but were a continuation of the quasi-judicial hearing without the presence of or notice to the objecting taxpayer. Dolphin v. Board of Review, 70 Wis. 2d 403
, 234 N.W.2d 277
The open meeting law is not applicable to the judicial commission. State ex rel. Lynch v. Dancey, 71 Wis. 2d 287
, 238 N.W.2d 81
A regular open meeting, held subsequent to a closed meeting on another subject, does not constitute a reconvened open meeting when there was no prior open meeting on that day. 58 Atty. Gen. 41.
Consideration of a resolution is a formal action of an administrative or minor governing body and, when taken in proper closed session, the resolution and result of the vote must be made available for public inspection, pursuant to s. 19.21, absent a specific showing that the public interest would be adversely affected. 60 Atty. Gen. 9.
Joint apprenticeship committees, appointed pursuant to Wis. Adm. Code provisions, are governmental bodies and subject to the requirements of the open meeting law. 63 Atty. Gen. 363.
Voting procedures employed by worker's compensation and unemployment advisory councils that utilized adjournment of public meeting for purposes of having members representing employers and members representing employees or workers to separately meet in closed caucuses and to vote as a block on reconvening was contrary to the open records law. 63 Atty. Gen. 414.
A governmental body can call closed sessions for proper purposes without giving notice to members of the news media who have filed written requests. 63 Atty. Gen. 470.
Discussing the meaning of “communication" with reference to giving the public and news media members adequate notice. 63 Atty. Gen. 509.
The posting in the governor's office of agenda of future investment board meetings is not sufficient communication to the public or the news media who have filed a written request for notice. 63 Atty. Gen. 549.
A county board may not utilize an unidentified paper ballot in voting to appoint a county highway commissioner but may vote by ayes and nays or show of hands at an open session if some member does not require the vote to be taken in such manner that the vote of each member may be ascertained and recorded. 63 Atty. Gen. 569.
NOTE: The following annotations refer to ss. 19.81 to 19.98.
When the city of Milwaukee and a private non-profit festival organization incorporated the open meetings law into a contract, the contract allowed public enforcement of the contractual provisions concerning open meetings. Journal/Sentinel, Inc. v. Pleva, 155 Wis. 2d 704
, 456 N.W.2d 359
Sub. (2) requires that a meeting be held in a facility that gives reasonable public access, not total access. No person may be systematically excluded or arbitrarily refused admittance. State ex rel. Badke v. Village Board, 173 Wis. 2d 553
, 494 N.W.2d 408
Discussing this subchapter. 65 Atty. Gen. preface.
Discussing public notice requirements for meetings of a city district school board under this subchapter and former s. 120.48, 1983 stats. 66 Atty. Gen. 93.
A volunteer fire department organized as a nonprofit corporation under s. 213.05 is not subject to the open meeting law. 66 Atty. Gen. 113.
Anyone has the right to tape-record an open meeting of a governmental body provided the meeting is not thereby physically disrupted. 66 Atty. Gen. 318.
The open meeting law does not apply to a coroner's inquest. 67 Atty. Gen. 250.
The open meeting law does not apply if the common council hears a grievance under a collective bargaining agreement. 67 Atty. Gen. 276.
Discussing the application of the open meeting law to the duties of WERC. 68 Atty. Gen. 171.
A senate committee meeting was probably held in violation of the open meetings law although there was never any intention prior to the gathering to attempt to debate any matter of policy, to reach agreement on differences, to make any decisions on any bill or part thereof, to take any votes, or to resolve substantive differences. Quorum gatherings should be presumed to be in violation of the law, due to a quorum's ability to thereafter call, compose, and control by vote a formal meeting of a governmental body. 71 Atty. Gen. 63
Nonstock corporations created by statute as bodies politic clearly fall within the term “governmental body" as defined in the open meetings law and are subject to the provisions of the open meetings law. Nonstock corporations that were not created by the legislature or by rule, but were created by private citizens, are not bodies politic and not governmental bodies. 73 Atty. Gen. 53
Understanding Wisconsin's Open Meeting Law. Harvey. WBB Sept. 1980.
Getting the Best of Both Worlds: Open Government and Economic Development. Westerberg. Wis. Law. Feb. 2009.
An Intro to Understanding Wisconsin's Open Meetings Law. Block. Wis. Law. Dec. 2015.
As used in this subchapter:
“Governmental body" means a state or local agency, board, commission, committee, council, department or public body corporate and politic created by constitution, statute, ordinance, rule or order; a governmental or quasi-governmental corporation except for the Bradley center sports and entertainment corporation; a local exposition district under subch. II of ch. 229
; a long-term care district under s. 46.2895
; or a formally constituted subunit of any of the foregoing, but excludes any such body or committee or subunit of such body which is formed for or meeting for the purpose of collective bargaining under subch. I
, or V of ch. 111
“Meeting" means the convening of members of a governmental body for the purpose of exercising the responsibilities, authority, power or duties delegated to or vested in the body. If one-half or more of the members of a governmental body are present, the meeting is rebuttably presumed to be for the purpose of exercising the responsibilities, authority, power or duties delegated to or vested in the body. The term does not include any social or chance gathering or conference which is not intended to avoid this subchapter, any gathering of the members of a town board for the purpose specified in s. 60.50 (6)
, any gathering of the commissioners of a town sanitary district for the purpose specified in s. 60.77 (5) (k)
, or any gathering of the members of a drainage board created under s. 88.16
, 1991 stats., or under s. 88.17
, for a purpose specified in s. 88.065 (5) (a)
“Open session" means a meeting which is held in a place reasonably accessible to members of the public and open to all citizens at all times. In the case of a state governmental body, it means a meeting which is held in a building and room thereof which enables access by persons with functional limitations, as defined in s. 101.13 (1)
A “meeting" under sub. (2) was found although the governmental body was not empowered to exercise the final powers of its parent body. State v. Swanson, 92 Wis. 2d 310
, 284 N.W.2d 655
A “meeting" under sub. (2) was found when members met with a purpose to engage in government business and the number of members present was sufficient to determine the parent body's course of action regarding the proposal discussed. State ex rel. Newspapers Inc. v. Showers, 135 Wis. 2d 77
, 398 N.W.2d 154
The open meetings law is not meant to apply to single-member governmental bodies. Sub. (2) speaks of a meeting of the members, plural, implying there must be at least two members of a governmental body. Plourde v. Berends, 2006 WI App 147
, 294 Wis. 2d 746
, 720 N.W.2d 130
When a quorum of a governmental body attends the meeting of another governmental body when any one of the members is not also a member of the second body, the gathering is a “meeting" unless the gathering is social or by chance. State ex rel. Badke v. Village Board, 173 Wis. 2d 553
, 494 N.W.2d 408
A corporation is quasi-governmental if, based on the totality of circumstances, it resembles a governmental corporation in function, effect, or status, requiring a case-by-case analysis. Here, a primary consideration was that the body was funded exclusively by public tax dollars or interest thereon. Additionally, its office was located in the municipal building, it was listed on the city website, the city provided it with clerical support and office supplies, all its assets revert to the city if it ceases to exist, its books are open for city inspection, the mayor and another city official are directors, and it had no clients other than the city. State v. Beaver Dam Area Development Corp., 2008 WI 90
, 312 Wis. 2d 84
, 752 N.W.2d 295
A particular group of members of the government compose a governmental body if there is a constitution, statute, ordinance, rule, or order conferring collective power and defining when it exists. To cause a body to exist, the relevant directive must confer upon it the collective responsibilities, authority, power, or duties necessary to a governmental body's existence under the open meetings law. The creation of a governmental body is not triggered merely by any deliberate meetings involving governmental business between two or more officials. Loosely organized, ad hoc gatherings of government employees, without more, do not constitute governmental bodies. Rather, an entity must exist that has the power to take collective action that the members could not take individually. State ex rel. Krueger v. Appleton Area School District Board of Education, 2017 WI 70
, 376 Wis. 2d 239
, 898 N.W.2d 35
When a governmental entity adopts a rule authorizing the formation of committees and conferring on them the power to take collective action, such committees are created by rule under sub. (1), and the open meetings law applies to them. Here, a school board provided that the review of educational materials should be done according to the board-approved handbook. The handbook, in turn, authorized the formation of committees with a defined membership and the power to review educational materials and make formal recommendations for board approval. Because the committee in question was formed as one of these committees, pursuant to the authority delegated from the board by rule and the handbook, it was created by rule and therefore was a “governmental body" under sub. (1). State ex rel. Krueger v. Appleton Area School District Board of Education, 2017 WI 70
, 376 Wis. 2d 239
, 898 N.W.2d 35