THE OPEN MEETING CANARD
Judges and DAs in Madison apparently need a refresher course in the law.
Let's start with Christian Schneider 101:
(1) Section 19.84 shall not apply to any meeting of the legislature or a subunit thereof called solely for the purpose of scheduling business before the legislative body; or adopting resolutions of which the sole purpose is scheduling business before the senate or the assembly.
(2) No provision of this subchapter which conflicts with a rule of the senate or assembly or joint rule of the legislature shall apply to a meeting conducted in compliance with such rule.
(3) No provision of this subchapter shall apply to any partisan caucus of the senate or any partisan caucus of the assembly, except as provided by legislative rule.
(4) Meetings of the senate or assembly committee on organization under s. 71.78 (4) (c) or 77.61 (5) (b) 3. shall be closed to the public.
19.87 - ANNOT.
Sub. (3) applied to a closed meeting of the members of one political party on a legislative committee to discuss a bill. State ex rel. Lynch v. Conta, 71 Wis. 2d 662, 239 N.W.2d 313 (1976).
There was some discussion today about the notice provided for the legislature's conference committee. In special session, under Senate Rule 93, no advance notice is required other than posting on the legislative bulletin board. Despite this rule, it was decided to provide a 2 hour notice by posting on the bulletin board. My staff, as a courtesy, emailed a copy of the notice to all legisaltive offices at 4:10, which gave the impression that the notice may have been slightly less than 2 hours. Either way, the notice appears to have satisfied the requirements of the rules and statutes.
Just in case you don't trust Marchant, let's take a look at what the Open Meetings law actually says. The law states:
19.84 Public notice.
19.87 Legislative meetings.
So the Open Meeting law says that the legislature's rules trump the Open Meetings law when the two are in conflict. And the legislature's rules hold that during a special session, under which the legislature had been operating, the only notice required is a posting on a bulletin board in the capitol:
Senate Rule 93 (2)
(2) A notice of a committee meeting is not required other than posting on the legislative bulletin board, and a bulletin of committee hearings may not be published.