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WAUSAU - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and the Wisconsin Department of Justice hosted the third of five statewide seminars on open meetings law and public records law at the UW Extension in Wausau today. The seminar began at 1 p.m. and is scheduled to conclude at 4 p.m.
In his remarks, Van Hollen emphasized the importance of these seminars in promoting a better understanding of the open meetings and public records laws; laws that Van Hollen described as "an essential component of effective citizen oversight of the workings of our democratic government."
"I believe very strongly in my office's role to help government officials and the public better understand their responsibilities and rights under the law, " said Van Hollen. "We offer seminars such as these free of charge because we want to maximize compliance. I truly believe that preventing mistakes is preferable to prosecuting mistakes."
The free seminars are only a part of the Wisconsin Department of Justice's campaign to promote compliance with public records and open meetings laws. In addition to the seminars, the Department of Justice recently published a newly revised compliance guide for public records law. The guideline along with one updated last year on open meetings law are available on the Department's website at http://www.doj.state.wi.us
Van Hollen was introduced today by Rep. Donna Seidel. Van Hollen was followed by Assistant Attorneys General Bruce Olsen and Mary Burke. AAG Olsen currently specializes in open meetings law, and AAG Burke currently specializes in public records law.
The remaining seminars will take place in Milwaukee (October 28) and Madison (October 29). Each seminar is free and open to the public, though registration is required due to limited seating. Individuals are invited to register at the Wisconsin Department of Justice website (http://www.doj.state.wi.us). They may also register by submitting an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the Department of Justice at (608) 267-2220. Registrants should provide their name, title, organization or agency, and identify the seminar they wish to attend.
A short audio file containing Attorney General Van Hollen's announcement of the seminars can be found at http://www.doj.state.wi.us and users should click on the link entitled "Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's Statement on Seminars."