The Political Insider has this tidbit on a bill that just passed the House. The bill, HB 833, would talk legal notices out of the local papers and put them on a website.
HB 833 is now before the Senate.
Proponents of the bill say it’s cheaper to post all bids for projects in all of Georgia’s 159 counties on a single Web site.
Publishers say that, revenue aside, local businesses need to see local opportunities in local newspapers. It’s another way to keep track of how government spends its money.
Newspapers also see this bill as punishment for their successful opposition last year to HB 218, an administration measure to cloak state and local development projects in more secrecy.
HB 833 isn’t a big-city newspaper fight. We’d never describe any advertisement that contributes to our massive salaries as negligible, but in Atlanta, the Fulton County Daily Report is the official legal organ and thus gets the bulk of legal ads.
No, like HB 218, this new measure strikes most harshly at the hundreds of smaller weekly and daily newspapers in Georgia. Which makes the timing unusual.
Politicians usually pick serious fights like this in off-election years.
I think I tend to agree that this is bad politics to inflame the local papers — of course this may just be a shot at DuBose Porter’s newspaper empire. 😉
On a serious note, I don’t know that rural counties in Georgia are as net savvy as metro-Atlanta, which could lead to problems.