Should local governments be required to publish notice in print of what they’re doing?by Dara Kam | April 4th, 2011
In the digital age, should local governments still be required to use newspapers to get the word out to the public about what they’re doing?
Some conservative lawmakers object that it’s a mandate from Tallahassee and want to do away with it. They say it should be up to the local governments to put the information about zoning changes, meetings or other activities on the Internet.
But others, including former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, argued that doing away with the print notices would leave many Floridians, especially senior citizens, in the dark.
“I don’t think this is an optional issue. This is one that goes to the fabric of our society,” Kottkamp told the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee this morning.
Committee Co-chairman Jim Norman pressed him on whether he “believes in the mandate.”
Kottkamp didn’t waiver: “On this issue, absolutely, yes.”
Sen. Maria Sachs, a Delray Beach Democrat, agreed.
“We must never curtail the right of the people to have notice of what their government is doing. Ever. And I don’t care what the cost is,” she said.
Norman, R-Tampa, argued that the costs – in the range of $50 million per year statewide not including the amount collected some affected parties have to pay to cover the printing costs – could be better spent elsewhere.
“This is an attempt at a look at a mandated cost to make it more affordable for them to have health care. you can’t always have it both ways,” Norman, a former county commissioner, said.