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Two of state's best-known lobbying groups go to court over open records

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A dispute that’s brewing over collective bargaining has led to a court battle between two of Wisconsin’s best-known lobbying groups.

The state’s Professional Police Association filed a lawsuit in Madison Wednesday against the Wisconsin Counties Association.

The police union says it’s been stymied in getting the counties’ group to turn over things like audits and county financial data. The Counties’ Association says it’s a private organization, and it’s not covered under the state’s Open Records Law.

The police union is trying to obtain the data to try and stop individual counties from classifying their jailers as general employees instead of law enforcement personnel.

Under that change, the jailers would lose their current exemption to the law which virtually eliminated collective bargaining by most public unions.

The police union wants a judge to declare that the counties’ group is subject to the Open Records Law – and that group has violated that law – and that it should turn over its requested documents to the police union and pay its legal fees.

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