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Rep. Novak’s Open Records Bill Passes State Senate

For Immediate Release                                                                          Contact: Rep. Todd Novak

April 19, 2023                                                                                                          (608) 266-7502


Rep. Novak’s Open Records Bill Passes State Senate


MADISON – On Wednesday April 19th, during floor session, the Wisconsin State Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 117. Representative Todd Novak (Dodgeville) authored Senate Bill 117 with Senator Duey Stroebel (Cedarburg) in response to a 2022 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision Friends of Frame Park, U.A. v. City of Waukesha.


As a result of the Supreme Court ruling, open records requestors can only recover attorney fees during a final judgement. This can allow government entities to withhold records knowing that there are fewer consequences of legal action. Under this ruling, a government entity can release contested records after a lawsuit is filed without having to pay for the requestor’s legal fees.


Senate Bill 117 clarifies existing state statute by ensuring that attorney fees are paid to the records requestor if their lawsuit brings about the voluntary release of records from the government.


“As a former newspaper editor and current elected official at both the state and local level, I understand the importance of transparency and openness in government operations” said Novak. “Our bill ensures that Wisconsin’s rich history of transparency in government is upheld. I am proud of the bipartisan support the bill has received, and I look forward to continuing our efforts to move this bill through the legislative process”.


Senate Bill 117 has now been sent to the State Assembly for consideration. The bill must pass both chambers in the same form before the Governor can sign the measure into law.


Rep. Novak can be reached at (608) 266-7502 or by email at Additional information on Rep. Novak can be found at his website