Free speech rights a concern in Wisconsin water resolution

Free speech rights a concern in Wisconsin water resolution Pat

A southwestern Wisconsin county council has dropped a proposal to prosecute journalists over their reporting on upcoming water research but is still threatening any officials who talk about it without approval.

The Lafayette County Land Conservation Committee drafted a resolution last week that warned journalists against reporting on the well contamination study without running an official news release verbatim. Media law experts warned that proposal was unconstitutional.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the committee removed that from the resolution Tuesday. But the panel approved a plan to “discipline” county board members and others if they talk about the study without permission from a panel of county officials.

Board member Kriss Marion calls it “a flagrant breach of the First Amendment.”

The board is expected to take up the resolution Tuesday evening.

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