Monday, April 8, 2013

N.C. Press Association Trying To Save Their Taxpayer Funded Gravy Train Otherwise Known As Public Notice Laws in North Carolina

HAT TIP CAROLINA PLOTT HOUND and link to a press release from the N.C. Press Association who are in a fight to keep their taxpayer funded paid paper monopolistic government subsidy on the books in the State of North Carolina. Below the fold we will do a little annotating in red against this letter from the N.C. Press Association.  


From the NC Press Association:

Senate Bill 186 comes up for a hearing next Tuesday, April 9, at noon at the Statehouse in Raleigh. PLEASE contact your local senators on this committee and ask them to vote AGAINST this bad bill.

Please also be ready, if you are able, to travel to Raleigh on Tuesday to help us fight this bill – we’ll watch for changes in the timing of the hearing and keep you posted. But if you can, please let me know if you CAN come to Raleigh next Tuesday! 

NCPA is preparing to file a piece of our own legislation next week aimed at ending the battle over public notices – for a while, at least. We’ll be sending details. But in the meantime, call and email your senators.

Oh boy cannot wait to see what legislation the NCPA is going to offer the citizens of North Carolina. Hopefully they will say we will provide these public notices for FREE since it is so important to the citizens . We will probably see some dumbass bill that will not save one bit of taxpayers money but will allow the newspapers to finally put public notices online like we see our neighbors to the west with the Dumbest Legal Notice Bill Yet , Newspapers Must Put Notice Online which Saves No Taxpayer Money and Mandates Nothing New.  

Here’s is NCPA’s stand on this bill

At a time when fellow Republicans are offering bills strengthening public records laws and opening the government to more transparency, it’s surprising and disappointing to see lawmakers take a stance that undermines one of the basic rules of open government – the people have a right to see what their government is doing in their name.

There is a new sheriff in town and he is not beholden to the liberal newspapers all over this state.

· Public notices need to be public. Putting them on an obscure government web site – and most are – suggest the public has no right to know what the government is planning. 

These obscure web sites are as easy as typing in your county or city into a google search which is not hard to do.

· Legislators many decades ago made it a legal requirement to run public notices in newspapers because newspapers were then and are now the first place the public looks for information about its government. . Newspapers run legal ads on their web sites as well these days – at no extra charge to the government, FYI – which adds a whole new audience.

This is not 1949 but 2013 these public notice laws were made well before the internet ever came into existence and having laws that say you have to be in a "Paid Paper" for a public notice is as outdated as these public notice laws are.

· Legislators also wanted the law to mandate running such ads to prevent back-room behavior – keeping business practices in the sunshine and under the watchful eye of the public, which pays the bills.

Now we have plenty of places where ads can be run from each city or county web site or some places in the State of North Carolina have a government access T.V. station that can provide this information without having to spend  additional taxpayers money in a paid newspaper.


· Many, many thousands of North Carolinians still don’t have affordable, easy access to internet service – how will THEY see these notices?

Many, many thousands of North Carolinians do not subscribe to the local newspaper as well , how will THEY see these notices?

· A government website is not free to the taxpayers, and running ads on government websites could COST taxpayers MUCH more. It requires the governmental body to spend time and money to ensure that the site is secure. The notice must be handled in an error-free manner and posted for the proper amount of time. Verification procedures must be in place. Affidavits may need to be provided in some cases. These are services that newspapers now provide to public notice customers.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to post a public notice on a government web site and the cost is very minimal compared to how much money flows to the monopolistic paid papers and this government subsidized state law. Look at what the Wilmington Star News has planned and to get your public notice will not be free and cost you $119.40 for digital and home delivery $207 a year.A newspaper is not free either and only if you are a 7 day a week subscriber then you might miss that most important notice in the paper because the newspapers do not tell you when they are going to file a public notice it just shows up in back section of newspapers.

· What happens when a government entity runs a notice incorrectly? Lawsuits are sure to follow, and for smaller governments – that’s an unfunded mandate that carries a huge liability for government employees and the local residents.

What a complete crock of crap that talking point is. What has happened in past where newspapers run a notice incorrectly, please enlighten us on how many lawsuits have happened in the past 50 years because of a wrong public notice. 

· Who will monitor these ads to assure they comply with the law, and police them if they don’t? The government cannot police itself. History has proven that time and again.

What is there to police it is a public notice ad in a outdated form of notification called the "paid newspaper" which cost taxpayers in this state millions of dollars. Just in one county Guilford we have one public notice on one day that cost taxpayers $97,000 here is a link to that post CLICKHERE

Please let us know what you hear back – and as always, thank you for taking this fight on yet again! This is the sixth straight year and we have won over and over. That’s a streak worth fighting for!

Hopefully that streak is coming to a end and we will see the North Carolina Legislature start thinking it is now 2013 not 1949, it is time do away with these outdated public notice laws that were made well before the internet was invented and save taxpayers money in the process. 

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