Rice v. Milwaukee County Board

Published on: September 26, 2011

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State ex rel. Rice v. Milwaukee County Board, Milwaukee County Case Number 2011-CV-9399 , was both the first case ever filed by WILL and its first victory.

Joseph Rice is a Supervisor on the Milwaukee County Board who, with WILL’s help, challenged the manner in which the Board carried out the required redistricting after the 2010 census.  That redistricting eliminated one Board seat – the seat of one of the few conservatives on the Board – Rice’s.  The Board had failed to give proper public notice in its agenda that it would be voting on the redistricting plan.  Rice pointed this out immediately, and the Board tried to correct its mistake by issuing an “emergency” notice, after the meeting had already started!

Judge Carroll agreed with Rice that no “emergency” existed and further that even if there had been an emergency, the Boar could not issue such a notice after the meeting had already begun, because that woud not give the public the information they would need to decide if they would attend the meeting in the first place.  The Judge entered a ruling declaring that the Board had vioated the Open Meetings Law and levied penalties against the Board and its chairman, Lee Holloway.

For press coverage of this case, see the following Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article.

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