- Associated Press - Monday, May 12, 2014
Former Wisconsin governor Lucey dies at 96

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Former Wisconsin Gov. Patrick Lucey, a hard-nosed Democratic politician who later became the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has died. He was 96.

Lucey, who also ran for vice president of the United States as an independent in 1980, died Saturday night at the Milwaukee Catholic Home after a brief Illness, said his son, Paul Lucey, of Milwaukee. He said funeral arrangements are pending.

“Governor Lucey was a dedicated public servant who loved Wisconsin,” Republican Gov. Scott Walker said in a statement. He called it “a particular joy” to be with him last summer for the 40th anniversary of the Kikkoman Foods Inc. soy sauce plant in Fontana.

Patrick Lucey was elected governor in 1970 and won re-election in 1974, but left midway through his second term to serve as then-President Jimmy Carter’s ambassador to Mexico.

In Wisconsin, he will perhaps be remembered most for pushing to merge the University of Wisconsin in Madison with the state college system, a fierce battle that created today’s system of 13 four-year state colleges.

Lucey was born in La Crosse, Wisconsin, in 1918. He worked as a grocery store manager from 1937 until 1940 and served in World War II in the Caribbean. He was elected to the state Assembly in 1948 and became executive director and later chairman of the state Democratic Party. He served as lieutenant governor in 1966.

Lucey’s biggest legacy was creating the modern UW System. Before he was governor, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Green Bay, UW-Parkside, 10 freshman-sophomore centers and the extension system operated outside the chain of nine other state schools such as Platteville and Eau Claire. Each group had its own board of regents.

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Court ruling may change Wisconsin open records law

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Government officials can consider the intentions of people who file open records requests when deciding whether to fill them, according to a recent court ruling that experts say marks a significant change in Wisconsin law.

The Court of Appeals ruled last week that the Milwaukee school board acted appropriately when it denied a request for an employee’s attendance and disciplinary records from a man accused of abusing her. The employee had obtained a restraining order against Korry Ardell in the past, and the board said it worried about her safety.

The appeals court said records custodians rightfully considered Ardell’s history when denying his request. Ardell’s attorney, Rebecca Mason, said that had not been allowed in the past and the decision changed state law.

“We’re setting a precedent where you could have a custodian who doesn’t agree with a media outlet or a particular citizen’s viewpoint and … deny the request,” Mason said. “That is not supported anywhere in the case law and it is a slippery slope.”

The woman obtained a restraining order against Ardell in July 2008. He violated it twice by sending the woman text messages and he served three months in jail. But he was free and the order had expired when he filed his open records request in November 2012.

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