2013 - 2014 LEGISLATURE
December 23, 2013 - Introduced by Senators Olsen,
Gudex, Hansen, Harsdorf,
Lassa, Miller and Wirch, cosponsored by Representatives Ripp,
Ballweg, Berceau, Bernier, Bewley, Billings, Born, Czaja, Doyle, Hintz,
Jacque, Kestell, T. Larson, Loudenbeck, Milroy, Mursau, Nass, Ohnstad,
A. Ott, Pridemore, Smith, Swearingen, Vruwink and Genrich. Referred to
Energy, Consumer Protection, and Government Reform.
1An Act to create
100.313 of the statutes; relating to: solicitation of a fee by a
2business or individual for a public record, granting rule-making authority, and
3providing a penalty.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Currently an individual may request a copy of a public record from a state
agency or local unit of government and, upon the payment of a fee for the cost of
producing a copy of the public record, receive a copy of that record. In many cases
there is no fee or a small fee for receiving a copy of a public record.
The bill requires any document used by a business or individual to make a
solicitation of a fee to provide a copy of a public record to state, in at least 24-point
type, that the solicitation is not from a governmental agency, that no action is legally
required by the person being solicited, the contact information for the governmental
office that has custody of the public record and fee for, or cost of, obtaining the public
record from that office, and the solicitor's name.
The bill specifies that the solicitation document may not be in a form that makes
it appear to be from a governmental agency or to impose a legal duty upon the
solicited person. The bill prohibits the solicitor from charging more than four times
the amount charged by the governmental office that has custody of the public record.
The bill also requires a solicitor to furnish the register of deeds of each county
where a solicitation is to be made for a copy of a deed with a copy of the solicitation
document at least 15 days before the solicitation is distributed. In addition, the bill
gives DATCP authority or, at the request of DATCP, the department of justice or a
district attorney authority to bring an action against any person who violates the
provisions of this bill, allows the court to order refunds of moneys paid to a violator,
and creates a forfeiture of up to $100 for each solicitation document distributed in
violation of the bill's provisions.
The bill does not apply to a title insurance company authorized to do business
in this state.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
100.313 of the statutes is created to read:
2100.313 Solicitation of a fee for providing a public record. (1)
In this 3
(a) "Local unit of government" means a political subdivision of this state, a 5
special purpose district in this state, an instrumentality or corporation of such a 6
political subdivision or special purpose district, or a combination or subunit of any 7
of the foregoing.
(b) "Record" means any material on which written, drawn, printed, spoken, 9
visual, or electromagnetic information is recorded or preserved, regardless of 10
physical form or characteristics, which has been created or is being kept by a local 11
unit of government or a state agency.
(c) "Solicit" means advertise or market to a person with whom the solicitor has 13
no preexisting business relationship.
(d) "State agency" means any office, department, or independent agency in the 15
executive branch of Wisconsin state government, the legislature, and the courts.
A business or individual soliciting a fee for providing a copy of a record shall 17
state on the top of the document used for the solicitation, in at least 24-point type, 18
all of the following:
(a) That the solicitation is not from a state agency or local unit of government.
(b) That no action is legally required by the person being solicited.
(c) The fee for, or the cost of, obtaining a copy of the record from the state agency 3
or local unit of government that has custody of the record.
(d) The information necessary to contact the state agency or local unit of 5
government that has custody of the record.
(e) The name and physical address of the business or individual soliciting the 7
The document used for a solicitation under this section may not be in a form 9
or use deadline dates or other language that makes the document appear to be a 10
document issued by a state agency or local unit of government or that appears to 11
impose a legal duty on the person being solicited. The department may promulgate 12
rules specifying the contents and form of the solicitation document.
A business or individual soliciting a fee for providing a copy of a record may 14
not charge a fee of more than 4 times the amount charged by the state agency or local 15
unit of government that has custody of the record for a copy of the same record.
A business or individual soliciting a fee from property owners for providing 17
a copy of a deed shall furnish the office of the register of deeds of each county where 18
the solicitations are to be distributed with a copy of the document that will be used 19
for those solicitations not less than 15 days before distributing the solicitations.
The department may investigate violations of this section. The department 21
may bring an action or request that the department of justice or a district attorney 22
bring an action against any person who violates this section. The court may order 23
the person who violates this section to refund all of the moneys paid to the violator 24
and to forfeit, for a first violation, not more than $100 for each solicitation document
distributed in violation of this section, and not more than $200 for each solicitation 2
document distributed in violation of this section subsequent to the first violation.
This section does not apply to a title insurance company authorized to do 4
business in this state or its authorized agent.