Critics say a bill in the legislature would severely limit what documents are available under the state's open records law.
Milwaukee County Clerk John Barrett is quoted in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as saying " I think it would place in doubt every criminal complaint as to whether or not that would be open or not."
But the bill's lead sponsor Representative Gary Bies (Byes) (R-Sister Bay) tells WRN the bill will not make public records now available all of sudden unavailable.
All it does, he says, is make sure requests for those open records go to the initiating agency.
For example Bies says police reports from an ongoing police investigation may be stored in a computer system. As it is now someone could go to the IT department and request information under open records. But ongoing investigations are considered restricted until complete, Bies says, and the IT department may not know that.
Under the Bies bill, an open records request would go to the initiating police department who would know the status of the case.
Bies says there are also other cases when records are restricted such as documents sealed by a judge or cases involving juveniles.
Bies says the bill doesn't change what documents can be released under open records just where the request must be made.
The bill will get a committee hearing Tuesday.