Wisconsin committee drops proposal to prosecute journalists

Wisconsin committee drops proposal to prosecute journalists
File photo

Officials in southwestern Wisconsin have dropped a resolution that appeared to threaten journalists who planned to report on upcoming water research without repeating a news release verbatim.

The Lafayette County Land Conservation Committee was set to vote on the resolution Tuesday. But county attorney Nathan Russell said Monday that the vote won’t happen and that the resolution won’t be considered “in the near future.”

The resolution centers on the upcoming release of findings from a water quality study. It stipulates the county chairmen, county conservationists and the Lafayette County conservation committee chairman would craft a news release on the findings. Journalists who alter or edit the release’s summary of findings would be prosecuted.

Legal experts say the resolution is clearly unconstitutional.

Russell says the counties can protect the study’s “integrity” without a resolution.

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