Attorney General Van Hollen Issues Formal Opinion to Bill Lueders Concerning Advance Notification to State and Local Public Officials Before Releasing Records

Oct 15 2014
Attorney General Van Hollen Issues Formal Opinion to Bill Lueders Concerning Advance Notification to State and Local Public Officials Before Releasing Records
 

MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen issued a formal opinion today to Bill Lueders pursuant to the Attorney General’s authority under Wis. Stat. § 19.39. Van Hollen issued the formal opinion concerning two questions. First, Lueders asked whether Wis. Stat. § 19.356(9), which requires advance notification to state and local public officials before releasing records, applies simply if the official’s name appears in a record. Second, he asked whether Wis. Stat. § 19.356(9) applies only if the criteria in a different statute, Wis. Stat. § 19.356(2)(a), are met; the latter statute provides public employees a right to challenge the release of certain types of records, including disciplinary reports and records obtained by subpoenas and search warrants. Van Hollen concluded that, for Wis. Stat. § 19.356(9) to apply, the record must do more than mention the public official’s name but instead must substantively relate to him or her. Van Hollen further concluded that the statute’s applicability was not limited to the narrower set of records described in Wis. Stat. § 19.356(2)(a).

 

A copy of the Attorney General’s opinion is available at the following link:  Opinion.

 

A copy of the opinion request is available at the following link:  Request.

 

Formal and informal opinions issued by Attorney General Van Hollen are available here.