Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bristol Herald: Public Notices Belong In Print

Two bills in the Virginia House of Delegates would allow localities to stop publishing public notices in local newspapers, as required now, and instead publish them on their government Web sites, public access radio and television broadcast channels or to send the information by text and alert systems operated by those channels.

House Bill 1879, sponsored by Delegate John Cosgrove, a Republican from Chesapeake, would only apply in localities with populations of 100,000 or more. Delegate Steven Landes, a Republican from Weyers Cave, makes no population restriction in House Bill 2355. Cosgrove’s bill is being considered this morning by the House Counties, Cities & Towns Subcommittee 2. Landes’ legislation is expected to be discussed next week.

The Virginia Press Association and this newspaper are vehemently opposed to both bills as written. Removing newspapers and newspaper Web sites from publishing public notices seriously reduces the reach these notices have.

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