Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing because they might just be trying to pull the wool over someone’s eyes.
That is the fear concerning an effort currently under way from some state legislators to once again limit which public notices need to be published in community newspapers.
This is not the first time they have tried, and their intent might be just if it is to save a little money for municipalities and school districts. The problem is the savings pale in comparison to the can of worms this could open.
For starters, the public ought to be asking why the very people who were elected to serve them are aggressively pursuing legislation that would deny electors the public information to which they are entitled.
The public should not be expected to seek out information on a government Web site. Information should be delivered to them by the government.
The public notice process exists to provide independent third party oversight of government. Government should never be permitted to report on itself. The publication of public notices is vital to holding elected officials accountable.
Granted, editorials such as this one may seem self-serving since newspapers stand to lose revenue if the law is changed. But this issue goes much deeper than money. What is really at stake is the public’s right to know and government’s obligation to operate openly in sight of the very people who elected them. Legislators need to be reminded of that.     —Mark Sherry