Under the guise of saving a few bucks on printing costs, Republican Majority Leader Skip Stam of Raleigh and Democrat Bill Owens of Pasquotank have teamed up to sponsor a bill that would allow municipalities to forgo publishing of any and all public notices in newspapers. H 472 allows local governments in North Carolina to post public notices on their website in lieu of having them printed in newspapers. Limiting the public’s access to public information is a step in the wrong direction. If anything, we need measures that make it easier for the public to be informed about the activities of their local governments.

The bill started out as H 361 and only pertained to Currituck County. H 361 was sponsored by Rep. Bill Owens (D) of Pasquotank.  Majority Leader Stam must have liked the idea so much, he sponsored a new bill with the same language that would apply to all municipalities in the State of North Carolina.

This is a completely absurd idea. We all know that not everyone has access to a a computer. And the ones who do are not going to be checking their government’s website daily to check out the public notices. And what of the ability of websites to be changed after the fact with no audit trail?   Print is permanent.  You cannot hide it.  You cannot change it.  It is what it is.  Why would politicians want to limit the public’s ability to know when their local government will be meeting or what they will be doing?  The only possible answer is that they don’t want you to know what they’re up to.

The rhetoric of saving money is just that, rhetoric.

Don’t let the politicians get away with this. We need more transparency, not less

Contact Rep Tim Spear and Senator Stan White today and tell them to oppose H 361 and H 472

Email Tim Spear or call him at 919-715-3029

Email Stan White or call him at 919-715-8293

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