• 41°

Keeping the public in public notices

When was the last time you searched the Internet for some good public notices?

Probably never. But readers of this newspaper and many others in the state are accustomed to seeing public notices on our pages on a regular basis. The paid notices serve a crucial function, which is to inform the public about rezoning hearings, economic development incentives and other government proposals. The notices alert citizens so they can weigh in on issues before a final decision is made, reather than when it’s too late. These notices are transparency in action.

However, the N.C. League of Municipalities and the N.C. Association of County Commissioners have attempted for several years to end that practice. They have pushed legislation that would allow local governments to satisfy public notice requirements simply by posting notices on their own websites. Period.

The House Judiciary II Committee will consider a bill Wednesday that could bring this ongoing debate to an end. Senate Bill 129/House Bill 156 would uphold the requirement to have public notices posted in newspapers, and go a couple of steps better. The proposal includes a price break on notices that must run more than once, and it would require that the notices appear on newspaper websites at no additional charge.

As an editorial in the Hendersonville Lightning put it: “Best of all, the measure protects the rights of all North Carolinians to know what the government is doing — whether it’s spending tax money to attract industry, closing a road, rezoning property or selling public land.”

The editorial was praising state Sen. Tom Apodaca, a Republican from Hendersonville for signing on as a primary sponsor. A senator representing Rowan County, Republican Tom McInnis of Rockingham, has also signed  on to the bill, modeled after a bill the Florida legislature enacted in 2012.

The North Carolina Press Association. of which the Post is a member, has been advocating for this compromise measure for two years. If lawmakers’ goal is to have public notice information reach as many citizens as possible, there’s no question more people would come across a notice while they’re perusing the paper and its website than would regularly visit a government website and happen upon it.

Thank you to Apodaca, McInnis and others who support this important legislation. They are protecting the people’s fundamental right to know.

Comments

Local

Scout’s Honor: With dedication of flag retirement box, Salem Fleming earns Eagle Scout rank

College

North Carolina king, queen of NCAA lacrosse tourneys

High School

High school football: State’s top honor goes to Jalon Walker

Education

Kannapolis seniors walk elementary schools

Local

Local real estate company employees come out in force to build Habitat house

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Auditors find oversight lacking for $3 billion of state’s pandemic aid

Nation/World

When will gas situation return to normal?

Local

Rowan native Shuping posthumously receives Concord Police Department’s Medal of Valor, Purple Heart

News

Black high school softball player told to cut hair

News

GOP measure on penalties for rioting draws fire

Coronavirus

State shows 303 COVID-19 deaths in Rowan

Coronavirus

CDC: Fully vaccinated people can largely ditch masks indoors

Crime

One arrested, another hospitalized in Castor Road stabbing

China Grove

China Grove Roller Mill open for tours Saturday

News

Facing personnel deficiencies, local fire departments request tax rate increases

Local

‘Panic buying’ creates gas supply shortages locally, statewide after pipeline cyberattack

Business

Twice as nice: Planet Smoothie opens alongside Cold Stone Creamery in co-branded store

Local

Spencer board gets update on South Iredell rat problem

Education

West Rowan teacher awarded $15,000 outdoor learning grant

Cleveland

Town of Cleveland plans celebration May 22

High School

High school girls tennis: Busy Hornets win again easily

High School

High school softball: Nixon, Walton top all-county team

Education

All Hood Alumni and Friends Symposium scheduled June 18