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Tuesday - May 8, 2018 8:57 am

Release public record electonically

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Wisconsin's open records laws are pretty clear. The public has a right to see the communications of our public officials when they are conducting official business. But it may be time to clarify the law. Increasingly, Wisconsin lawmakers are trying to dodge the requirement that they provide these public records by insisting they be released as paper, rather than electronic documents. Printing hundreds of pages of records can cost the requesters thousands of dollars. But in this day and age there is no reason the documents can't be provided electronically. Consider the most recent case. State Rep. Jonathon Brostoff of Milwaukee was asked to provide copies of his emails related to occupational licensing regulations. Brostoff insisted the records be released in printed form, which would have cost more than $3000. A settlement has now been reached, with the emails to be released electronically. Because Brostoff was sued to force the release, Wisconsin taxpayers will pay $1800 to cover the legal fees involved. It makes no sense to print out thousands of pages of emails when they already exist electronically. Brostoff was simply trying to stall, or scare them off. Producing public documents in electronic form is cheaper and easier. The state's open records laws should be updated to reflect that, to force greater compliance and to save taxpayers money.

Scott Robert Shaw

Scott Robert Shaw is the Program Director for both 1410 WIZM and 580 WKTY.   He's currently the morning news anchor on 1410 WIZM, Z93 and 95-7 The Rock.  He joined Mid-West Family Broadcasting as a reporter/anchor in 1989 and served as News Director from 1990-2015.   He's been the winner of several Wisconsin Broadcaster's Association awards for Best Editorial in Wisconsin.  He enjoys traveling, bicycling and cooking.

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