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.