On December 2, 2009, Rep. Marlin Schneider (D-Wisconsin Rapids) made an amendment to AB-340. Referred to as Assembly Substitute Amendment 1 to 2009 AB 340, this revised bill essentially would create two versions of the CCAP database. Schneider’s amendment appears to be — based on its timing at least — a partial response to the Apartment Association of SE Wisconsin’s critical response to a memo that Schneider sent to other members of the Wisconsin legislature and staff on November 20, 2009. The problem with Rep. Schneider’s amendment, if it is indeed a response to the AASEW’s criticisms, is that it ignores everything that the AASEW attempted to explain to him.
The original AB 340 can be read in its entirety at www.DefeatAB340.org. This site also contains background information on the sponsors of AB 340, responses from across Wisconsin to Schneider’s bill, and Schneider’s earlier attempts to restrict CCAP and prevent landlords from legally screening rental applicants.
Under the amended AB 340, the first version of CCAP would remain exactly as we now know it. It would continue to provide data on pending cases and completed cases that were resolved by stipulated dismissal, acquittal, or motion. It would also continue to provide information as to all original criminal charges filed even if those charges were later reduced or dismissed.
However, this fully transparent version of CCAP would be restricted to only a “chosen few,” namely:
1. Justices, judges, magistrates, court commissioners, and other employees of state, federal, or municipal courts and agencies who require access to court documents and records during the course of their employement.
2. Law enforcement officers.
3. Attorneys and their employees.
4. Members of the Wisconsin Newspaper Assoc., the Wisconsin Broadcaster’s Assoc., and any other Wisconsin media organization designated by the director of state courts.
5. A debt collector licensed under Sec. 218.04, Wis. Stats.
The second version of CCAP would be a redacted version (just as was set forth in the original AB 340) and would exclude any and all information about any civil or criminal case that had not yet been resolved by: (1) a finding of guilt, (2) a finding of liability, (3) an order of eviction, or (4) the issuance of a restraining order or injunction.
Under the revised AB 340, a person would still be able to request that the director of state courts remove all CCAP information relating to that individual’s case if it did not result in a finding of guilt, liability, eviction judgment, or TRO/Injunction, or if it was reopened, vacated, set aside or overturned on appeal. Thus, even the “chosen few” detailed above would still not have access to this information if an affected individual made a request to remove it from CCAP.
The revised AB 340 appears to have eliminated the requirement that all users must register with the Director of State Courts and pay a $10 fee. However, still intact in the amended bill is the requirement that a person who has been denied employment, housing, or a public accomodation, be informed that said decision was made after reviewing information contained on CCAP. The intentional failure to comply with this section could result in a $1,000 fine.
The revised AB 340 is not an improvement over its predecessor. Yes, I guess it does allow a select few to access most of the information currently contained on CCAP but what about those individuals who are not included? Landlords, employers, moms and dads, and everyone else excluded from accessing the info on the “real CCAP” are still being prevented from using CCAP to obtain information that falls under Wisconsn’s open records law.
I wonder just how much time Rep. Schneider and his staff spent drafting the revised AB 340? Since the revised version still ignores Wisconsin’s open records law and still hinders a landlord’s ability to properly – and legally – screen a prospective renter, I hope that they didn’t spend too much time on it because I still don’t think it will pass.
What are your thoughts about this revised version of AB 340? Let me know your thoughts by sending a “comment.”