Thursday, January 24, 2013

Virginia House Bill 1378 Proposes to Move Public Notices to Governement Site. When Will They Ever Learn?



Virginia House Bill 1378 Proposes to Move Public Notices to Governement Site. When Will They Ever Learn?

It seems that our elected officials are as oblivious to their surroundings as they are persistent. In the past 18 months, over 20 bills proposed in various states moving public notices to government web sites have failed to pass. The newspapers' valid argument in opposing these bills has been that the independence, required when a non-partisan third party (like a newspaper) commissioned to publish notices, is absent when the government controls the message and the delivery of that message. One would think that Mark Cole, the delegate from Virginia's 88th district, while proposing to use the internet for public notices, might have learned from that medium (and our blog) that those bills do not pass and perhaps would try a different strategy, say, letting online news organizations that devote a certain amount of space to local news, compete with printed newspapers to offer local governments substantial cost savings.
Alas, below is yet another attempt doomed to fail, not for lack of trying (last year 7 bills failed in Va. attempting to change the antiquated public notice laws) but for lack of inventiveness. The bill  has been referred to the Committee on Counties and Towns where hopefully it won't die.
Offered January 9, 2013
Prefiled December 10, 2012
 BILL to amend and reenact § 15.2-107.1 of the Code of Virginia, relating to the advertisement of legal notices on websites.

Patron-- Cole


Referred to Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That § 15.2-107.1 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

§ 15.2-107.1. Advertisement of legal notices on websites.

In addition to or instead of any requirements that a locality advertise legal notices in a newspaper having a general circulation in the locality, and notwithstanding any other provision of law, general or special, such notices may also be published on the locality's World Wide Web site website.
To read how other states are addressing this issue Click HERE
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