PALM BAY, Fla. — State Rep. Randy Fine of Palm Bay is taking on a medium he says whose “time has passed” in today's high-technology society.
- State Rep. Randy Fine to introduce '2019 Public Notice Reform Act'
- Would increase accessibility to online public notices
- Bill co-sponsored by Republican Sen. Dennis Baxley of Ocala
He is introducing legislation called 'The 2019 Public Notice Reform Act,’ which he says would increase accessibility to online public notices normally found in newspapers.
Those notices would still be required by law but would eliminate the mandate they be paid for and published in Florida newspapers.
Fine says the deregulation would save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. As right now, the Sunshine State has 412 cities, 67 counties and school boards paying to put the notices in the newspaper.
"I believe there are higher and better uses for the hundreds of millions of dollars that are presently being used to subsidize an industry, that frankly, is on its way out," Fine said.
Senior citizens who don't have internet access or can't afford newspapers would be put on a list and mailed public notices free of charge.
The bill is co-sponsored by Republican Sen. Dennis Baxley of Ocala.
USA Today Network's Southeast regional president Bill Barker reacted to the proposed bill with the following statement:
"Having legal notices in an independent and credible news product ensures the most opportunity for the public to be fully informed. We believe elected officials have the same level of interest in having a well-informed public as we do. We don't want to see the day where the government begins to police itself through its own mechanisms of communicating to the public, that in fact, have very little use or engagement. Proper public notice is as important a foundation to government transparency as many of the other tenets of our democracy. And we would hate to see public officials try to leverage cost savings in the interest of tax payers as a disguise to lessen transparency and full disclosure of notices to the largest possible audiences."