State Rep. Bill Hamzy, a Plymouth Republican whose 78th District includes a portion of Bristol, is among three sponsors of a measure that would allow towns and cities to cease publishing legal notices in newspapers.
Instead, the proposed law would let them put the legal notices only on the municipality's website if they choose to follow that route.
Putting legal notices on the websites makes perfect sense, of course, but taking them out of newspapers would immediately preclude the sort of general access that papers intrinsically allow. After all, as state Rep. Frank Nicastro, a Bristol Democrat, has argued so forcefully lately, many older residents in particular don't have computers and don't go cruising the web.
Putting legal notices on the web only would strip the public of the opportunity to know easily what's going on with their local governments while simultaneously removing yet another part of the shrinking revenue stream that keeps newspapers alive.
I suspect that the many journalists who have complained that newspapers should never get special help from the government will somehow find a way to argue that this is a bad idea that should never be adopted.
That's certainly what I think.*******
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org