Rep. Ron Nate, R-Rexburg, proposed new legislation in the House Ways & Means Committee today to allow government agencies to publish legal notices on their websites, if they choose, rather than in a newspaper. Luker said he proposed similar legislation earlier, and the House Local Government Committee had good suggestions; this is his second version.
“Some local communities don’t have newspapers,” Nate said, “so they end up spending maybe more money publishing it in a larger newspaper.”
Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, asked Nate if he’d talked to the Newspaper Association of Idaho about the bill; Nate said no. “I’ve talked to the counties, the cities and some state agencies, but I have not talked to the newspaper association,” he said.
Crane asked him, “How do you plan to address the issue where some of our citizens don’t have internet access in the places in which they reside, but they do have access to a newspaper?” Nate responded, “That’s why this is optional.” Agencies, he said, “probably have a better understanding of their citizens and needs.”
Crane said, “So you think that state agencies here, that are domiciled in Boise, have a better understanding of citizens that live in small communities that don’t have internet access?”
“I was talking mostly about the local entities,” Nate said. “But the state agencies probably have an understanding similar to ours. … Maybe that’s a consideration to have going forward with this. If we have a bill number, we can get input like that and see how to handle this for state agencies, if that’s a different standard.”
Crane moved to introduce the bill, saying, “I do have some reservations about the legislation as it’s currently drafted, but I think discussion would be warranted.” Nate said his plan is to allow discussion on the idea between now and next year.