The Wisconsin Newspaper Association (WNA) has selected Sen. Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan) and Rep. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) to receive its “Badger Award,” in recognition of their advocacy for openness in government and an informed citizenry. Leibham and Marklein will be honored by WNA at its annual convention Feb. 28 – Mar. 1, at the Madison Marriott West in Middleton.
The “Badger Award” recognizes an individual, group or organization that has demonstrated outstanding efforts to protect and enhance openness in the conduct of the people’s business. It is the highest honor given by the WNA to a non-member. In creating the award in 2003, the WNA Board of Directors noted: “The free flow of information between government and the people is commonly referred to as the ‘people’s right to know.’ It is essential to the principle of democracy.”
WNA is pleased to recognize Leibham and Marklein, who co-sponsored Wisconsin Act 228, which protects the public’s “right to know” of government actions. The legislation updated the newspaper industry’s public notice process by requiring that all public notices appear on the searchable WisconsinPublicNotices.org website.
As the law was passed, Marklein, of Spring Green, noted that the measure “enhances government’s reach to today’s online readers while protecting the critical third-party oversight that newspapers provide …”
“An informed citizenry is of utmost value – especially in today’s society where misinformation spreads so quickly … confidence in our government is strengthened when important information is easily accessible and offered via a neutral third party,” Leibham said.
WisconsinPublicNotices.org is a public service made possible by the newspapers of Wisconsin and was developed to assist citizens who want to know more about the actions of local, county, and state government.
Gov. Scott Walker signed Wisconsin Act 228 on April 6, 2012. By sponsoring this bill, Senator Leibham and Representative Marklein have succeeded in providing the citizens of Wisconsin with searchable, round-the-clock availability of all public notices printed in Wisconsin newspapers. The effort protects the public’s “right to know” of government actions.
Past recipients of the Badger Award and the years for which they were recognized are:
Former Gov. Jim Doyle (2003), former state Rep. Mark Gundrum (2004), Manawa Police Chief Kerry Schuetz (2006), River Falls Police Chief Roger Leque (2007), Brown County Register of Deeds Cathy Williquette (2008) and Rep. Joe Parisi (2010). Presentations were not made for 2005, 2009 and 2011.
WNA’s membership includes 31 daily and 192 weekly newspapers. The Wisconsin Newspaper Association (WNA) was established in 1853 and is among the oldest press associations in the world. Created by and for Wisconsin’s newspapers, WNA exists to strengthen the newspaper industry, enhance public understanding of the role of newspapers, and protect basic freedoms of press, speech, and the free flow of information.