LB - Randy Garrison

Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Kudos | Obituaries | Real Estate Search | Subscriber Services | Contact Us
Camp Verde Bugle | Camp Verde, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news June 25, 2016


2/19/2013 8:16:00 AM
Measure allows cities to post legal notices online instead of in print

Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services


PHOENIX -- Saying the money can be better used, members of a House panel voted Thursday to let cities and counties put their legal notices online instead of in newspapers.

The 4-2 vote came despite objections from newspaper publishers and their lobbyists who insisted there needs to be independent verification that information is being given to voters.

"I don't believe any government can be trusted enough to police itself," said Jonathan Paton. The former state legislator is now representing Wick Communications, which publishes 14 newspapers in the state.

But the supporters of HB 2533 were persuaded by the cost to taxpayers.

Dale Wiebusch, lobbyist for the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, presented legislators with a city-by-city list of what 50 of them now spend meeting the current legal requirement to publish their notices. It totaled $1.8 million a year, even without including Phoenix.

Those figures, however, vary widely, with half of that cost incurred by Mesa. By contrast, the League's figures put the annual price tag for Tucson at $26,380.

The future of this legislation remains murky, as newspapers have been able to marshal the votes to defeat multiple prior efforts in prior years.

But the tide may be turning in favor of the local government, with the Legislature previously having allowed counties to quit publishing the minutes of their meetings in newspapers in favor of online posting. And Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff, said it's time for Arizona governments to embrace the available technology.

The trade-off, though, could be weakening already financially embattled newspapers.

Manuel Coppola, publisher of the Nogales International, told members of the House Committee on Technology and Infrastructure that public notices comprise 25 percent of his budget. He said losing those revenues would mean the loss of two staffers.

But Rep. David Stevens, R-Sierra Vista, said the problems of newspapers are irrelevant to this discussion.

He noted Coppola's testimony that the paper's circulation was 4,500 a decade ago and now is just 3,000. And that is even with the continuing mandate on local governments to pay newspapers to publish their notices.

"So it doesn't look like that revenue was an issue for declining subscriptions,' Stevens told Coppola.

But Rep. Lisa Otondo, D-Yuma, openly worried about the effect of this legislation.

"If would kill our newspaper,' she said in voting against the measure. And Otondo said that would ultimately hurt the overall community.

The Arizona Newspapers Association already maintains a web site to post legal notices that its members publish. And Ginger Lamb, publisher of the Arizona Capitol Times, said her own weekly paper also puts its legal notices online, saying the web site gets 1.5 million hits a year.

Stevens noted, though, the print circulation is only 5,500.

"You're kind of making our point that the digital stuff is easier access and more accessible than the print,' he said.

"Not everybody's online,' Lamb responded.

But Rep. David Gowan, R-Sierra Vista, said even those who do not have Internet access at home can go to public libraries to access the information.

The bottom-line argument of the newspapers, though, is their independence from the government.

"You are trusting government to police itself on that issue' of giving people the notice of its activities, Paton said. "That's ultimately one of the most disturbing parts of the bill.'

He said government may have "a vested interest in not providing public notice on a given issue.'

Gowan said all that is hiding what's really at issue.

"The bottom line here is we're talking revenue loss,' he said.

`Why should we be subsidising a private entity when we have all this,' Gowan said. "The Internet is here now. Let's not reinvent the wheel.'

The measure still needs review and approval by the House Government Committee before going to the full House.



ICT - Lamb Auto 0601 Nissan 180x150

    Most Viewed     Recently Commented
•   Election 2016 Q&A: Jessie Murdock (617 views)

•   Camp Verde officials take action on speeding complaints (477 views)

•   Citizens committee donates $417K to Camp Verde library (365 views)

•   Obituary: Joyce Lorene Gray (312 views)

•   November opening targeted for library (290 views)





Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to Facebook character limits. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   


Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
Find more about Weather in Camp Verde, AZ
Click for weather forecast





Find It Features Blogs Celebrate Extras Submit Other Publications Local Listings
Classifieds | Place an Ad | Galleries | Kudos | Obituaries | Real Estate Search | Subscriber Services | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Contact Us
LB - Lamb Auto 0617 Nissan Blue 989x150

© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® Camp Verde Bugle ® is the information source for Cottonwood and Verde Valley area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Camp Verde Bugle Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, cvbugle.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Camp Verde Bugle Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved