The Racine Journal Times | State lawmakers should stop dodging open-records law

An editorial from the Racine Journal Times this weekend writes about our fight with State Representative Jonathan Brostoff over his refusal to provide electronic copies of records we had requested:

Wisconsin added another chapter to its litigious history of skirmishes with lawmakers over releasing copies of public records under the state open records law last week.

The last two rounds of dispute have been over whether lawmakers can insist on releasing paper copies of records or if they should release them in an electronic format — such as an email, a CD or thumb drive or a file-sharing website.

This time it was state Rep. Jonathan Brostoff, D-Milwaukee, who was in the news when he backed down in a fight with the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty and said he would provide copies of his emails related to occupational licensing regulations — which WILL has been seeking to overhaul. 

Brostoff had originally told the legal and research group it would cost them $3,240 for printed copies of thousands of pages of email records. WILL sued. In the settlement announced this week, the records will be provided electronically and state taxpayers also will pick up the tab — $1,822 — for WILL’s legal fees.

Earlier this year, a Dane County judge had ruled a Republican state lawmaker, Rep. Scott Krug of Nekoosa, must supply electronic copies of records related to state policies on water that were sought by Bill Lueders, president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council and the managing editor of the left-leaning Progressive Magazine.

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