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Friday - August 10, 2018 6:02 am

A victory for open records in Wisconsin

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Wisconsin's top law enforcer is standing up for access to public records. Attorney General Brad Schimel is issuing a reminder to all state and local government agencies to charge a more reasonable price for requests for open records under state law. State law is clear that the public should have access to any government record that is deemed to be open. It doesn't matter who is requesting the minutes of a government meeting or why they want a copy of it. But some government agencies say they are willing to provide the documents requested, but they charge exorbitant fees for the time it takes to locate and copy the documents. A typical fee is 25 cents per page, but some say it will cost records requesters much more. Sometimes that is simply an excuse to keep the person requesting the records from getting their hands on them. Other times, it become a money maker for the government agency. Schimel is reminding these governments that they should only charge 1.35 cents for a black and white copy of a document, and 6.32 cents for a color copy. Schimel is telling all levels of government in Wisconsin that they can only charge for locating documents, reproducing them and mailing them. They cannot charge for the time taken to black out portions of the document considered sensitive, nor not covered by open records laws. It remains to be seen whether governments will follow the Attorney General's recommendation, but it is good to see him stand up for public access to public documents.

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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