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Bill to charge more for public records gets public hearing Wednesday

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Some of Wisconsin’s public records would be more expensive under a bill that’s up for a public hearing in Madison on Wednesday.

The Republican measure would let state and local governments charge for the time they spend deleting confidential information from things like police and social service records.

The bill would nullify a State Supreme Court ruling from last year, which prohibited the custodians of public records from charging extra for the time it takes to black out confidential items.

The ruling was the result of a lawsuit from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which was billed thousands of dollars after it obtained heavily-redacted police records for a series of stories on crime.

The bill’s main sponsor, Assembly Republican Garey Bies of Sister Bay, says taxpayers should not have to pay for somebody’s research project. But open records’ supporters say the bill would make it harder for people to see what’s going on in their government.

The Assembly’s Government Operations Committee will hold Wednesday’s hearing.

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