The state House this week gave preliminary approval to legislation to let counties and the state's largest cities publish their legal notices online rather than spending money to buy newspaper ads. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.
Gilbert Representative Warren Petersen said it makes no sense to force taxpayers to spend money to run legal notices in tiny type, often in little-read newspapers, when most Arizonans have the ability to access the Internet. His measure would give the option to put notices, instead, on a website.
Representative Karen Fann of Prescott said she could not agree. "I believe that in our history and time we still have a lot of people who do not have access to the Internet out in rural areas," Fann said. "We have a lot of seniors who either don't have Internet or don't know how to use computers."
And Representative Ethan Orr said his prior experience as a Tucson city employee convinces him there needs to be some outside independent interest to ensure that people are getting the notices they should. But Representative John Kavanagh, whose wife is mayor of Fountain Hills, chided those opposed to the change. "I find it interesting that many of the same people who continuously decry corporate welfare are now basically supporting what is really nothing more than corporate welfare for newspapers because cities and towns have to take money they could spend on schools and parks and spend it on absurd notices that nobody even reads."
Petersen had to alter his measure to keep the publication requirements for cities with fewer than 100,000 residents to get the votes he needed.