“A pending bill in the Legislature could have a broad silencing effect on Wisconsin open records law,” says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Assembly Bill 522 would shield from all open records requests certain law-enforcement records not “in the custody of an authority that performed the service or conducted the investigation” – wording that the head record-keeper in the state’s busiest courthouse called “too broad and too vague” to be practically applied without severely limiting public access to court cases.
“I think it would place in doubt every criminal complaint,” Milwaukee County Clerk of Courts John Barrett said, “as to whether or not that would be open or not.”
Apparently, the proposal was drafted to protect records in situations where disparate police agencies use a central county communications system.
In such cases, [bill sponsor Rep. Garey] Bies said, records that might be shielded from open-records requests because they’re part of a pending police investigation could be unprotected because copies of them are in the county’s computer system.