Please Make A Call or Email your Michigan Rep Before Next Wednesday, December 9
Tell your state legislators to change the Public Notice laws and vote in favor of HB 6334-6440 to allow government entities to choose the way they notify citizens of public notices and promotes better transparency.
The Public Notice group of Bills HB-6334-6440 were moved to third reading this week. We expect lawmakers to be taken up next week. This group of bills is our long-awaited state legislation that allows Public Notices to be placed in media other than solely newspapers. That includes radio and television websites.
These bills will not prohibit government from placing their paid public notices in print newspapers or on their websites, it only opens it to competition and more forms of communications.
Members of the Michigan Press Association are vigorously lobbying their state house members in opposition. They are saying that these bills will stifle transparency and put some small weekly papers out of business. At the MAB, believe that the modernization of Public Notice posting will allow for more transparency. We need you to call and email your state house members in favor of modernized public notice laws. Ask them to vote in favor of HB 6334-6440. Public notices should be placed in the best media to reach the masses, not set in statute to be publish in newspapers.
Talking Points about Public Notice:
- The world has changed since the public notice laws were promulgated mandating that all public notices should be posted in newspapers. Newspapers are not the only way and even not the most popular way citizens get their information anymore. So why continue to mandate publication in newspapers? If the goal is to widely notify the citizenry of important public notices, the best media for the job should be used.
- Many areas of the state do not have daily newspapers or any local newspapers at all. Every area of the state has local radio and TV coverage on the air 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Further access to our websites is FREE. Some newspapers charge a subscription to access their print and web content.
- The current Public Notice Rules were promulgated at a time before there were many choices in media. Now we have a plethora of multimedia choices. To mandate that Public Notices are placed in one media goes against the very purpose of Public Notice.
- We agree that Public Notices need to be independently verified to assure that the information is widely distributed. It also gives third party independent witness that the notice was posted and widely distributed.
- Radio and Television Stations can provide the archiving required of Public Notices. After all stations are required by the FCC to keep a lot of documentation. Archiving will not be a problem.
- Updating the public notice laws HB-6334-6440 removes the single source mandate requirement of public notices mandating print in a newspaper. The bills give government a choice. Choice brings economy. Local government knows the most popular media in their area. Let them choose.
- Placing a public notice on over the air radio or television also comes with a bonus. Radio and Television stations under the proposed legislation will be required to promote over the air that public notices are available on their website. Newspapers do not have the ability to do that.
- In conclusion Public Notice is important and should be widely distributed in many ways. The proposed legislation will not prohibit government from using newspapers as their source of independent distribution. It simply gives municipalities and government a choice. It improves transparency, it does not restrict it.