lawmakers say bill will save taxpayers millions of dollars, increase accessibility to Public Notices
BREVARD COUNTY • PALM BAY, FLORIDA – State Representative Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay) and Senator Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala) introduced the 2019 Public Notice Reform Act (HB 1235), which the lawmakers say will save taxpayers millions of dollars while increasing accessibility to Public Notices.
Rep. Fine was joined by Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey, who fully supports the bill, to announce the Public Notice Reform Act during a press conference at the Government Center in Viera last month.
In response to Fine’s Public Notice Reform Act bill, the Tampa Bay Times, in conjunction with the Florida Press Association, published a full-page ad on April 7 encouraging residents to call or email Fine to let him know they were still newspaper readers.
The full-page ad, which can be seen above, said, “Real Facts: More than 5,984,647 Floridians read a newspaper each week.”
Fine countered on social media that the “Fake News media is scared.”
According to the July 2018 census, Florida now has more than 21.2 million residents and growing.
“In response to my bill, HB 1235, which would stop forcing government to spend tens of millions of your tax dollars each year subsidizing print newspapers, the Tampa Bay Times used those same tax dollars to print a full-page advertisement claiming I wanted to shut down newspapers, and asked their readers to overload my phone lines and email,” said Fine.
“I guess in the world of Fake News, suggesting that newspapers should have to stand on their own two feet without government subsidies is the same as shutting them down. Sad.”
The Public Notice Reform Act would eliminate the requirement for governments and citizens to purchase physical print advertising for public notices while maintaining the requirement for online, storable, searchable public notices.
Fine said it would create a free market where current – and new – entrants could compete for the publication of public notices and would give governments the option, if they chose, to publish themselves.
This legislation would require publishers of public notices to mail free, via first class mail, copies of all public notices to any member of the public wishing to obtain public notices in this fashion.
“I have two words for them, and any other special interest who believes that taxpayer money should be diverted from cleaning up our environment, roads, public safety, and education to fatten their wallets: Bring It!”
District 53 is comprised of the southern portion of Brevard County and includes the entirety of Palm Bay, Malabar, and Grant-Valkaria, and portions of Melbourne, West Melbourne, and unincorporated Brevard.
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