The Wisconsin Court of Appeals encouraged the state Supreme Court on Tuesday to review whether the Legislature violated the state’s open records law when it approved union contracts that kept state employees’ names from being publicly released.
The higher court will now decide whether to take the case.
A county circuit judge ruled in favor of the newspapers in 2006.
The case stems from requests by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Lakeland Times newspapers in Minocqua for information about certain Wisconsin employees under the state’s open records law. The employees’ names were redacted under a state-approved contract with union employees that bars making their names public.
The unions have said that releasing the redacted information to the media could endanger state workers, such as corrections or law enforcement employees.
The newspapers argue the public has a right to know who’s working for the government.
The name-ban appears in contracts for the Wisconsin State Employees Union, the Wisconsin Professional Employees Council, and the Wisconsin Science Professionals.