Contrary to Senator Wade's claims in her recent press release, her bill to change the legal advertising law is not supported by the NCPA.
The real "Florida Compromise" bill, identical to last session's HB 156 (see attached) and SB 129, was sent to Bill Drafting in the House on Tuesday, March 21. It will be filed by Rep Steve Ross of Burlington and three other primary House sponsors in the next week.
Please contact the sponsors of this bill Sen. Trudy Wade (R-Guilford) (919) 733-5856, Sen. Wesley Meredith (R-Cumberland) (919) 733-5776 and Sen. Dan Bishop (R-Mecklenburg) (919) 733-5655 and your local delegation to let them know NCPA publishers OPPOSE this legislation.
Key Talking Points:
- The Compromise Newspaper-Published Public Notice Bill, which passed the House 115-4 last session, 1) maintains the long-standing requirement that government public notices be published in newspapers of general circulation, 2) adds the requirement that newspapers post the government notices on their own websites, and 3) provides a 15% cost reduction for publication of notices that must appear more than once.
- Only through this mechanism can all segments of the public be assured of access to government notices because as many as one-third of North Carolinians do not have internet access, can't afford it, and would not visit government operated websites even if they had internet access.
- The anti-right to know bill sponsored by Senator Wade, SB 343, is a repeat of the effort over the last several General Assembly sessions to effectively eliminate government notice advertising in newspapers by making newspaper publication optional for government agencies. As described by former Republican lawyer- House member Bonner Stiller, giving local governments the choice to suspend notice publication to the public in newspapers would "create havoc" for free press rights every time a newspaper criticized the government.
A key point of this bill would move legal notices to local government websites. In a recent study by NCPA over a large sampling, newspapers continue to reach an overwhelming amount of citizens compared to county websites - in some cases as much as 3 to 1. When comparing visitors in print and online to our products to that of a government website it is clear that citizens come to newspapers for local information and news about their communities, including these important legal notices. Legislators need to know these facts. This bill would bury notices on a website that few if any citizens visit and effectively would kill the public's right to know. If you have not done an analysis of your own, please contact your local county office and ask them for their web stats, an IT director or PIO should be able to provide you that information.
Please let the NCPA office know of any feedback you receive after contacting your local legislator. Please reach out to your delegation today at your earliest convenience.
Our compromise bill will push the use of the newly launched ncnotices.com. If you are not uploading already please do so and if you need any assistance in setting up the upload process contact NCPA today.