Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bid to end newspaper legal notices fails

Publishers narrowly beat back efforts Tuesday to eliminate the requirement that cities and counties publish certain notices in newspapers at public expense.

On a 5-4 vote, the House Government Committee rebuffed a proposal by Rep. Russ Jones, R-Yuma, to scrap the mandate in favor of letting the local government instead provide the same information on the Internet. The big concern of legislative foes was that many of their constituents lack access to computers and, in many cases, haven't the slightest idea what the World Wide Web is.

"I would submit that many of these people have not even seen a Web site," said Rep. Frank Antenori, R-Tucson, whose district includes the retirement community of Green Valley.

Tuesday's vote was a significant victory for the newspapers, some of which depend heavily on the legal notices. The League of Arizona Cities and Towns said its members spent $900,000 last year on publications; similar figures for counties were not available.

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