Archive for the ‘Wisconsin’ Category
Law enforcement agencies may release motor vehicle reports that they obtained in the course of an investigation in response to a public records request, according to an opinion issued by the Wisconsin Attorney General.
Van Hollen reasoned that the DPPA identifies certain permissible uses for which a state motor vehicle department (a “DMV”) may disclose specified personal information from motor vehicle records. It is a permissible use for a DMV to disclose personal information “[f]or use by any government agency, including any court or law enforcement agency in carrying out its functions . . ..”
Van Hollen further reasoned that the Wisconsin Public Records Law imposes a statutory duty on law enforcement agencies to respond to public records requests. In the course of carrying out its functions, including responding to public records requests, a law enforcement agency therefore may disclose personal information obtained from a DMV that is included in law enforcement agency records responsive to such requests.
Some personal information may be redacted, as specified in other laws.
Find a Wisconsin voter’s address, voter registration status, party affiliation, data of registration and voting history for current and inactive Wisconsin voters. The search requires the input of the first and last name and date of birth.
In a prior roundup of government sites with voter registration lookups, I forgot to mention the National Association of Secretaries of State collection of voter registration record verifications. This isn’t a comprehensive list, and some of the links were dead the last time I checked, but it’s worth adding to your bookmarks.
Want to find some of these links on your own? Try using the following phrases in your search engine: “Am I registered to vote?” and “Look up your voter registration”.
Complaints by residents in Oregon has lead to the removal of some property owner’s names from PortlandMaps, the city’s online mapping program of assessor’s data and building permits. Portland offers a vague explanation for the decision to allow a search by address only.
Ohio media outlets may have to add a requirement to the standard job description: must have photographic memory. That is, if they want to peruse particular public records which cannot be copied. That’s the law in Ohio. The opinion of the Ohio Attorney General adds absurdity to confusion in his assertion that reporters can inspect the gun permit owner lists kept by the Sheriffs’ offices but are not allowed to write anything down. Keep your eyes peeled for a clarifying law, sure to be stupider than the first.
Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Attorney General has issued an opinion that may make police agency’s records more available to the public. The AG stated that a 1991 state Supreme Court ruling exempting from the open records law district attorney files does not apply to police reports. A police spokesperson objected, claiming that open access would give a defense attorney “tactical advantage over a prosecutor who has not yet examined the police reports”, according to this story. Will someone make a list of all the arguments public agencies have offered for keeping public records out of our hands?
The Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog reports that Maryland has erected new obstacles to getting police reports.
Meanwhile, a newly introduced bill in the Wisconsin legislature would create a violent offender registry.
The Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (not a staple news source) reports that the “Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the home addresses and telephone numbers of public employees were subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), even when public employees requested that this information be kept confidential.”
The California Franchise Tax Board list of delinquent taxpayers (or should-be taxpayers) extends back to 1987.
“California Revenue & Taxation Code Section 19195 directs the Franchise Tax Board to publish an annual list of the top 250 taxpayers with liened state income tax delinquencies greater than $100,000.”
Select a state Department of Revenue to locate other delinquent taxpayers lists.
Of all the harebrained ideas, the restriction of Wisconsin court records online is sure to be defeated in the legislative committee. The bill’s author claimed that Assembly Bill 418 would alleviate employment discrimination against people with criminal records. Keep an eye open for a revised bill that would limit access to those who can pay.
And even when state legislatures extend public records access – as the Ohio legislature did in the last General Assembly – confusion can lead to closure of records formerly open to the public. The Ohio court clerks are awaiting training on the Public Records Act, as the law requires, before returning access to court records.
A New Mexico judge agreed with a private investigator who brought suit against the state that the records of previous tax sales is a public record. Eric Griego had sought the Department of Taxation and Revenue records listing sales of property seized and sold by the state. The difference between the money made on the sale and the amount owed for taxes is supposed to be returned to the beneficiaries, who Griego located in his work as an heir hunter, but the agency had started denying his requests after complying for many years.