Checking out somebody’s criminal history online could soon be more difficult.

Wisconsin’s online court records database, known as CCAP, was created so the public could easily search for that information. However, state Representative Marlin Schneider (D-Wisconsin Rapids) says people are being punished when cases that are dismissed remain in the system. He says potential employers or landlords can see that information, and may use it against an applicant.

The practice is against the law. However, Schneider says he’s heard from multiple people who have faced such discrimination because charges remain on CCAP for several years, even if they’re dismissed.

Schneider is sponsoring a bill that would restrict free CCAP access to state agencies, as well as legal, law enforcement and media professionals. The public could still view cases where there was a conviction, after they register and pay a fee.

Opponents of the bill say it would limit access to public records. Kevin St. John with the Department of Justice says the state shouldn’t take action to limit valuable public information, simply because it might be misused.

The bill received a Capitol hearing Thursday and is being considered by an Assembly committee.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (MP3 1:11)

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