Arkansas House bill could reduce government transparency
The Arkansas House of Representatives advanced a bill that would change a current law requiring publication of delinquent tax, election, ordinance and financial notices in local newspapers.
- The information would instead be published on government websites, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.
- Other legal notices, solicitations for bids and foreclosures would go unaffected.
Why it matters: Supporters say the move would increase public access to information and save local jurisdictions money by not having to pay newspapers to publish the text.
- Opponents claim it will reduce government transparency by relying on local officials to post notices and by dispersing data across the web.
Threat level: The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the Arkansas Press Association oppose the bill, citing decreased government transparency.
- Legal notices of all types are a source of income for local newspapers. Diminishing revenue for small, local papers could create more news deserts.
What they're saying: "These are the things we need to keep local newspapers alive and to prevent the continuation of news deserts throughout the state and the nation," Sonny Elliott told the Democrat-Gazette.
What's next: The bill will be discussed today by the House Committee on City, County and Local Affairs.
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