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Freedom of Information Council’s anniversary marked at UW-Madison event

September 30, 2008 By Dennis Chaptman

The Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, a statewide nonprofit group devoted to protecting access to public meetings and records, will mark its 30th anniversary with a program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison on Monday, Oct. 13.

The program, hosted by the UW–Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication, will include an address by Shirley Abrahamson, chief justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, on the importance of open government in Wisconsin.

The event, which runs from 4-5:30 p.m., is free and open to the public. It will be held in the Nafziger Conference Room on the fifth floor of Vilas Hall, 821 University Ave.

“We are proud that the council has survived and thrived,” says Bill Lueders, council president. “Perhaps that’s because the need of the people for information about the workings of their government has never faded.”

The event will also feature a debate between Lueders and state Rep. Marlin Schneider, D-Wisconsin Rapids, over online access to court records and a performance of “The Open Records Blues,” by Madison singer-songwriter Peter Leidy.

The council, which meets quarterly and now has about two dozen members, was formed in October 1978 by a small group of journalists, notably including Bob Wills, then editor of the Milwaukee Sentinel.