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Attorney: Panel won’t consider plan to prosecute reporters

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Officials in southwestern Wisconsin have dropped a resolution warning journalists they would be faced with prosecution if they edit a planned news release.

The Lafayette County Land Conservation Committee was scheduled to vote on the resolution at an emergency meeting Tuesday. But the county attorney, Nathan Russell, said Monday that the meeting won’t happen and he doesn’t believe the resolution will come before any county committee “in the near future.”

The resolution comes in response to plans to release findings from a water-quality study conducted in Grant, Iowa and Lafayette counties.

The resolution calls for the county chairmen, county conservationists and the Lafayette County conservation committee chairman to draw up a news release on the findings. Journalists who alter or edit the release would be prosecuted.

Media-law experts say the resolution is clearly unconstitutional.

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

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