Legal Update

NC public notice effort is an assault on newspapers and transparency

Imagine this hypothetical scenario: Someone wants to build a factory in your neighborhood, a change that would bring noise, pollution and heavy truck traffic. Your local government has to hold a public hearing and OK the proposal first, but that’s already happened before you even heard about it.

The bulldozers have arrived to start construction, and it’s too late for you to fight back. This scenario could become reality in one North Carolina county after the state legislature approved a bill Oct. 5 that would take public notices out of local newspapers.

The bill targeted only Guilford County in order to circumvent Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of similar legislation — governors can’t veto bills that only affect a few counties. But some lawmakers want to make the change statewide: Allowing local governments to put important notices on their own websites instead of newspapers. It’s billed as a way to cut costs on newspaper advertising, and supporters argue that printed classified ads are obsolete because the internet exists.

Read the full article from the Wilkes Journal-Patriot: Effort is an assault on newspapers and transparency

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