Category Archives: Legislation & Regs

Governor Creates Office of Privacy Protection

From the press release dated Thursday, April 13, 2006:

Today, Governor Doyle opened the Office of Privacy Protection (OPP), which will serve as a centralized hub to educate consumers and businesses on how to protect themselves against identity theft and provide comprehensive assistance to those who have been victimized. Victims
are able to contact the office now by calling toll-free at 1-800-422-7128 or on the web at privacy.wi.gov.
The Governor also proposed a legislative initiative to crack down on identity crimes that will increase penalties for identity theft, provide additional security for business, and create greater protections for individual victims. Under the Governor’s proposal, identity theft will be increased to a Class E felony, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. Governor Doyle’s initiative will make the penalty for identity crimes against businesses the same as for crimes committed against individuals.

Podcasting the Internal Revenue Code

Lewis & Clark Law Professor Jack Bogdanski (of Jack Bog’s Blog! fame) has taken on a new challenge: Podcasting the Internal Revenue Code – one new section every day.
From his blog:

I’m all about public service, and I could not think of a more worthy internet project than to record a reading of the Internal Revenue Code for those who love to download mp3’s and play them back on their iPods. You’ve heard of books on tape? How about tax law coming through those earbuds? Let’s kick it with Title 26, people!

Source: BoleyBlogs!

IRS Plans to Allow Preparers to Sell Data

From the Philadelphia Inquirer: IRS Plans to Allow Preparers to Sell Data

The IRS is quietly moving to loosen the once-inviolable privacy of federal income-tax returns. If it succeeds, accountants and other tax-return preparers will be able to sell information from individual returns – or even entire returns – to marketers and data brokers.
The change is raising alarm among consumer and privacy-rights advocates. It was included in a set of proposed rules that the Treasury Department and the IRS published in the Dec. 8 Federal Register, where the official notice labeled them “not a significant regulatory action.”

The proposed rule is available via GPO Access.
Thanks to my colleague, Margaret Booth for the tip,

Governor Signs Virtual Visitation Bill

On March 22, Governor Doyle signed Senate Bill 244, creating 2005 Wisconsin Act 174, which provides for supervised electronic communication between a parent and child after a divorce or legal separation, if allowed by the court.
For more, see the article in JS Online.

Some family law experts said the Wisconsin legislation wasn’t necessary because judges could already allow for such visitations, and some fear parents could be forced to exchange face time with their children for electronic visits if the law isn’t applied appropriately.
But supporters argue that it’s important to formally add electronic visitation to the list of options available to judges, so they feel compelled to consider it when requested.

WI Act Discourages Use of SSNs on Public Documents

WisPolitics reports that Governor Doyle signed into law consumer protection legislation known as the Register of Deeds Privacy Act (2005 Wisconsin Act 139). The act reduces public access to Social Security numbers on documents filed with the state’s seventy-two registers of deeds offices.

The bill uses a two-pronged approach for discouraging the practice of placing Social Security numbers on documents to be recorded in the offices of the register of deeds. First, the bill allows the register of deeds to reject the document from filing, something they are not permitted to do under current law. Secondly, the legislation would make the practice of filing records with a Social Security number illegal, and would provide the victim of identity theft recourse against the party responsible for not blocking out Social Security numbers.