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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.

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14 Responses to “Should local governments be required to publish notice in print of what they’re doing?”

  1. What Says:

    Let’s trade… for keeping this requirement, start collecting sales tax on newspaper advertising

  2. Boca Jew! Says:

    Then Maria Sachs needs to funnel some State money to the municipalities instead of the UNIONS!!

  3. g Says:

    yes…..yes…
    its the law…. you want to ban apps that tell where the police are, now you want stop it in the paper…. YOU ARE ALL NUTS.

  4. Max Says:

    The cost of backroom deals to the taxpayer is much higher than the cost of publication. The Municipalities should remember that they REPRESENT THE CITIZENS!!! They have a duty to disclose and report the same way that a Board does to a private company.

    KEEP OUR NOTICES, PLEASE!

  5. Sam Says:

    Well, if used properly, internet and email notification could improve and increase the amount of information cities, counties provide regarding business. The city where I live has my email address and I do recieve emails regarding street closures, boil water notice and the like. I don’t however recieve notice of commission minutes, agendas, etc. but they could send them to me if they wanted to. They do post them, although there is some delay, on the web site.

    While I agree that not everyone has internet access, not everyone buys the paper or has newspaper delivery so the same argument could be had regarding newspaper publication, not everyone will see it in a newspaper.

  6. Just Curious Says:

    Does this mean the “transportation fee” that I pay (22 cents daily; 44 cents on Sunday) to have the newspaper delivered to my front yard is going to increase?

  7. Mary Lindsey Says:

    Absolutely local goverments should be required to post notice in newspapers AND it should not cost $50 million. Newspapers, like the PBPost, have enormous influence with their endorsements. The least they can offer back to the community is public service announcements of when the local elected officials they propelled into office are going to meet and do the people’s business.

  8. Unreal Says:

    @mary lindsey
    Do we really want the state bartering for policy influence?

    Let’s just cut off medicare and let the elderly die off. Then most of our problems would go away by themselves. Think of all the funerary jobs that would create and the increase of land values to build more cemetaries!

  9. Floridian Says:

    The real issue is sustaining the newspapers with the advertising revenue. It’s well known that Republicans, especially Rick Scott, don’t like the papers. They papers offer the facts and many opinions. Scott and friends prefer Fox and Friends, the Republican friendly propaganda outlet. They are taking out NPR and now many smaller papers. Fox is already the most watched news on TV. How much more do they need? All of it, I guess.

  10. larry Says:

    it seems like the only people that have enough time to strike and revolt are government workers? They have to revolt because they are protecting their heavy duty pensions that no one else have, but we have to pay more taxes so they can retire at 55 confortably while everyone is trying to make social security age at 69 or so?

  11. Floridian Says:

    Larry, Or maybe everyone else should get the same benefits. Why does everyone have to have less? We’re the richest nation on earth, right? Why are we cutting pensions and raising retirement age at all? We should all get more, not less.

    In the last 10 years or so, only the rich got richer, and the rest of us got poorer than ever. It doesn’t have to be that way.

  12. Eric Says:

    This couldn’t be any worse than the current practice of printing the notices in the paper. Far more people have internet access than read a paper.

    A far bigger issue is that the “deal is done” long before the notices go out. Maybe we could fix that problem?

  13. We're Broke... Says:

    Floridian,
    You are aware that the nation is broke, right?

    The US Government is over $14 Trillion in debt. We have over $61 Trillion in unfunded liabilities. If we DOUBLED every corporate and personal income tax NOW, our current budget would still not be balanced. We won’t even discuss the fact that Congress spent the Social Security Trust Fund, or that the largest buyer of our debt, (Treasury Notes), is the FED! Of course they print that money out of thin air!

    We’re one black swan away from the bond market shutting down or the dollar becoming worthless as a global currency.

    Does this help you understand why we can’t have it all?

  14. Floridian Says:

    Broke,

    You better buy some gold and lay in your food supplies. Don’t forget plenty of ammunition.

    I believe in American exceptionalism. I’m not pessimistic. Sure, we’ve been through a rough time, like WWII or the Great Depression. But we will recover over time, just like we recovered from those.

    Maybe we should revise free trade laws so we can keep some of our US dollars at home buying US products. If people have jobs and pay taxes we can pay our debt.

    We also have three wars at once. We have the largest military in history, spending more than all the other countries put together. We have the largest air force, and the second largest (the Navy.) Maybe some other countries could put up some $ so we don’t have to borrow $ to launch cruise missiles at a petty dictator.

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