A bill read in the state Assembly Tuesday that could significantly alter the Wisconsin Public Records Law was stalled because of severe opposition from media groups.
The bill, AB522, was scheduled for a vote in the Assembly Judiciary and Ethics Committee, but because of resistance from media groups at the public hearing over the bill’s vague wording, the bill is being revised, according to committee member Rep. Robert Turner, D-Racine.
“At this point this bill is not on a fast track,” said Eric Hanson, a spokesperson for committee member state Rep. Tony Staskunas, D-West Allis.
The existing law authorizes Wisconsin residents to inspect or obtain records maintained by the government.
Andrew Nowlan, spokesperson for state Rep. Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay, the bill’s author, said the bill does not affect what documents are available to the public.
According to Nowlan, an information technology department handling record keeping for different police departments should not decide whether or not to release the record. He said this is an example of the open records law needing more precise protocols.
Nowlan said only the police departments that conducted the investigation, courts and other “proper custodians” should be able to release the information.