Must a common council, village board or other municipal governmental body allow a citizen to tape record or video tape an open session of the body?
Generally speaking, yes. The open meetings law requires a governmental body to make a reasonable effort to accommodate any person desiring to record, film, or photograph its proceedings in open session. Wis. Stat. § 19.90. However, § 19.90 also provides that recording, filming, or photographing a meeting in a manner that interferes with the conduct of the meeting or the rights of the participants is not permitted. Thus, if a person’s recording or filming activities interferes with the conduct of a meeting or the rights of the participants, the governmental body may order that person to record or film in a non-disruptive manner, or, if that is not possible, to cease recording or filming. The governmental body maintains ultimate control over matters of public conduct and decorum during its meetings.
The accommodation required by § 19.90 does not apply to closed sessions. A governmental body may prohibit any of its members or any other person present from recording or filming
a closed session. (rev. 9/19)