SB 419 Public Notice Act

Opinion: Update on public notice, open records bills

In case you’ve been keeping score, there was movement on two damaging public notice bills last session, both of which died in the Senate – one in Appropriations and the other tabled on the floor calendar. So far this year, there has been activity in both the House and the Senate, with local government organizations pushing five virtually identical bills this session. Read More...

Opinion: What's best use of Internet for government information?

With state government generally enchanted with the Internet, the significance of public notices in a democracy seems to strike some as almost an afterthought. Read More...

Opinion: SB 419 would harm democracy, as well as newspapers

Newspapers and journalists have worked hard to help policymakers understand the true cost of putting public notices in junk mail: the loss of public access to information about what government is doing. Read More...

Lawmakers consider letting legal ads go online

HARRISBURG -- County, borough and school district groups clashed with newspaper industry representatives today over three bills that would make major changes in how legal advertising is disseminated to the public. Read More...

Public notices could find new homes in print, online.

HARRISBURG (May 14) - Local governments have long posted ads about home foreclosures, school board meetings, contract bids and other public issues in daily or weekly newspapers, but new laws under consideration by the state Legislature could change that, allowing municipalities to use other media to publicize their activities. Read More...

Opinion: Defending the publication of public notices

Senate Bill 419 would allow the government to control its own public notices and eliminate the independent, third-party verification that newspaper publication provides. It would be all too easy to manipulate the bidding process, favor certain contractors, and shield critical information. Read More...

Opinion: Bill would make government in state even more secretive

When Elder Vogel was elected as the first Republican state senator from Beaver County since the dawn of time, he was hailed as an agent of change. It turns out that Vogel has fallen into line with the public-be-damned mentality that permeates the General Assembly and government across Pennsylvania in general. Last week, the New Sewickley Township Republican sided with those local, county and state politicians who believe Pennsylvania residents should be treated like mushrooms by keeping them well fertilized and in the dark.
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Opinion: Web-only govt. notices will keep people in the dark

Under the guise of saving taxpayer dollars and keeping the public informed, some state senators are pushing a plan that could actually leave people in the dark and help officals play favorites with public contracts. Read More...

Opinion: Sun still not shining in state Capitol

This was supposed to be a year of sunlight in Harrisburg, with the new open-records law taking effect and a state open-records czar and her staff working to make sure citizens have access to their government. But a funny thing has happened in the Keystone state, leaving us wondering whether there’s been any difference in the same old, same old way of operating at the state Capitol. Read More...

Opinion: Legal ads keep public informed

Whether you are a concerned citizen who tracks government spending and zoning decisions, or a business person who plans to bid on products or services for government use, you have one reliable, accessible source to monitor government -- the classified section of the Erie Times-News, in the "public notices" category. Read More...

Opinion: The fine print

It should come as no surprise in a state where lawmakers like to operate in the dark - especially late at night, when they can award themselves pay hikes - that a bill in Harrisburg aims to make it harder for Pennsylvanians to follow what their elected officials are up to. Read More...

Opinion: Right to know in jeopardy

"Notice is hereby given ..." That you, the people of Pennsylvania, are dangerously close to losing a time-honored service that protects your right to know what local municipalities are up to -- from invitations for bids on projects, to notices of hearings on zoning issues, to sheriff's sales listings.
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Opinion: Anti-democratic legal ads bill before Pa. Senate

Your government wants to take legal notices out of the public domain and put them on government Web sites. Your government leaders want to take the "public" out of public notices.
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Opinion: Advertising requirement is a matter of transparency

A bill in the state Senate would lift the requirement that public agencies advertise their legal notices in newspapers. That would open the door for abuses that could cost taxpayers much more than the cost of those ads. Read More...

Opinion: The public sector

Some state officials want to take public notices out of the public sector, where they have forever been. Public notices are part of the connective tissue that holds newspapers together and binds them to the communities that they serve. Read More...

Opinion: Is this what you call reform?

Reform and transparency have been the topic of much discussion in the last few years. There has been a lot of talk, some action, and now a proposal that would be a huge step in the wrong direction. I'm talking about a push by local governments to take public notices out of newspapers and put them on government Web sites. They claim that it would be cheaper and more convenient for the public. At best, these claims are misguided. At worst, they are misleading and promote government secrecy and cronyism. Read More...

Opinion: Posting only to Web limits access to local information

There is legislation working its way through our state Senate that would allow local governments to post public notices only on their Web sites. It sounds innocent enough. But it is bad legislation that in the end will cost more and mean you will know less about what is going on in your community. Read More...

Change to ‘legal ad’ rule may cloud sunshine, public advocates say

A bill that some say will undermine transparency in government throughout the Commonwealth’s towns and school districts is under consideration at the State Capitol. The bill would allow local governments to post meeting notices, budgets, construction bids, contract offers, zoning changes and proposed new laws on government-maintained websites, rather than in a newspaper as now required by law. Read More...

Opinion: Web no sub for newspaper ‘legals’

A state Senate committee has taken up an ill-advised bill that would allow local and state governments to stop placing legal advertisements in newspapers of general circulation, which is now required for important matters such as meeting and bid notices, polling place locations, zoning changes and so on. Read More...

Opinion: Robbins spearheads effort to limit public information

The Pennsylvania General Assembly took a major step last year in passing open records laws that give the public more access to government maneuvering. Now state Sen. Bob Robbins is working to make it more secretive. Read More...

Opinion: Plan to divert legal ads to government Web sites is risky

Here's a fair warning: This editorial may come across as insider-industry stuff, or even as a self-serving pitch by newspapers to protect a source of revenue. Read More...

Opinion: Keep public notices public

If you feel like you're in the dark about what your government is up to, it could get worse. A Senate bill that is moving quickly through the Legislature would remove public notices from newspapers and put them on government Web sites. Read More...

Opinion: Legal ad issue is disclosure

A state Senate committee has taken up a bill that would allow local and state governments to stop placing legal ads in newspapers, which is required for matters such as meeting and bid notices, polling place locations, zoning changes and so on. Instead, governments would be allowed to post those notices on their own Web sites, which would reduce distribution of the information. Read More...

Public notices could be 'hidden' from view

Pennsylvania Senate Bill 419, which is moving quickly through the legislative process in Harrisburg, would remove public notices from newspapers and put them on government Web sites. Read More...

Bills could take government notices out of newspapers

Government entities publish legal notices in newspapers - not necessarily because they want to, but because it's the law. Bills pending in Harrisburg could take the notices out of newspapers like this one and move them to Web sites run by the municipality, school district or county government agency required to give public notice. Read More...

Blair County may change legal ads

HOLLIDAYSBURG - Blair County commissioners are showing interest in proposed legislation allowing the posting of legal advertisements on agency Web sites instead of in newspapers. Read More...