Gary Bies, R-Sister Bay, a member of Wisconsin’s Assembly majority, is doing what majorities of both major parties do: trying to limit knowledge of government’s action from their own constituents. Bies proposes to make open government that much more closed:
A state Republican wants to allow government entities to charge members of the public for the cost of redacting records obtained under the state’s open records law. Rep. Gary Bies, R-Sister Bay, began the search for sponsors for the bill on Friday, saying he wanted to save taxpayers the cost of municipalities spending time to make the necessary deletions of confidential information.
The Madison chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists responded to the proposal with a statement Monday morning, calling redaction fees “a tax on public information” that would discourage members of the public from seeking information, and limit government transparency.
“Maintaining, reviewing and redacting records is a government function for which tax dollars are already allocated,” the statement read.