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MADISON – Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and the Wisconsin Department of Justice hosted the first of the 2010 Open Meetings and Public Records Seminars at the Warner Park Community Rec Center today. The seminar began at 1:30 p.m. and is schedule to conclude at 4:30 p.m. One hundred and forty-two people attended today's training session.
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 updated versions of the Open Meetings Compliance Guide and the Public Records Compliance Outline.
In addition, the Department of Justice has created a new online public records resource guide, which is available at http://www.doj.state.wi.us/dls/pr_resources.asp
Van Hollen was followed by Assistant Attorneys General Bruce Olsen and Lewis Beilin. AAG Olsen specializes in open meetings law, and AAG Beilin specializes in public records law.
Additional seminars will be held in Milwaukee (September 27th) and Wausau (October 5th). The seminars are each scheduled for three hours. A statewide videoconference seminar will take place with viewing sites in Green Bay, La Crosse, Rice Lake and Racine on October 12, 2010. Each seminar is free and open to the public, though advance 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/). Registrants should provide their name, title, organization or agency, and identify the seminar they wish to attend. Additional information as to event details is available in the attached pdf document, which is also available at http://www.doj.state.wi.us/news/files/2010_Roadshows_Pub.pdf
The Open Meetings Compliance Guide and Public Records Compliance Outline are available at: