MADISON — Wisconsin Gov.
Tony Evers released a day's worth of his emails to a
newspaper, after initially saying state law prohibited him
from doing that.
Evers fulfilled an open
records request made by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for
all emails he sent and received on Nov. 12. The three
emails he provided were copies of two press releases and
his daily schedule, the newspaper reported Wednesday. The
Associated Press made a similar request for a single day's
emails but has not yet received a response from Evers.
Evers released the day's
worth of emails to the Journal Sentinel after denying a
similar request from a WITI-TV reporter in October. Evers
said then he rejected it because the reporter's request
was not limited to a specific subject. Open records
advocates had criticized him for that position.
Evers' legal counsel said
the office was releasing the governor's emails from a
single day because it was making an exception to a portion
of the public records law that says a request for records
"is deemed sufficient if it reasonably describes the
requested record or the information requested."
Evers and his legal team
contend that portion of state law requires requests for
emailed communication to include a specific topic and
until last week said emails wouldn't be released without
Bill Lueders, president of
the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, said the
state's public records law says each request for records
must be received by government officials "with a
presumption of complete public access." Denying
access to public records "generally is contrary to
the public interest, and only in an exceptional case may
access be denied."
Lueders said nothing in the
law requires the governor to withhold records and that
Evers' reasoning for switching course leaves open the door
to deny the same kind of request in the future.
"It’s troubling that
rather than say this is the law and we are going to obey
it, they say we’re right and we're doing all we can, but
out of the kindness of our heart we’re going to release
the records," Lueders said. “It preserves their
ability to selectively say no to somebody else in the
charged with damaging state Supreme Court chambers
MADISON — Prosecutors
have charged a Madison man with causing thousands of
dollars in damage to the Wisconsin Supreme Court
chambers last month.
Court records indicate
26-year-old Timothy Binford was charged Monday with
felony property damage and disorderly conduct. He
could face up to three-and-a-half years in prison and
90 days in jail if convicted on both counts.
According to the
criminal complaint, Binford entered the chambers on
Nov. 26. He told police that he touched two statutes
and saw dragons and snakes on one of them, which
triggered what he called a “fury of rage”within
him. He said he started walking around the room
throwing items, including chairs, electronics, papers,
books and name plates. He also tipped over a large
conference table that separates the justices'seats
from the audience's seats.
He told officers that
he had drunk one beer and taken some CBD oil. He said
wasn't there to hurt anyone and he would take full
responsibility for his actions.
The complaint stated
Binford caused at least $5,000 in damage.
Online court records
listed the state public defender office as Binford's
attorney but didn't name a specific lawyer. A message
left at the public defender's Madison office Wednesday
wasn't immediately returned.