This article on NJ.com details a bill (A4429 / S2855) in the N.J. legislature, just introduced by both the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Assembly, to stop requiring local governments to publish their public notices in the newspaper—online or not at all would be perfectly acceptable. This is the antithesis of transparent, inclusive, democratic government, and it must be stopped!
I suggest calling both your Assemblypeople and State Senator to tell them to reject this bill. If it happens to get through the Assembly, we need the Senate to reject it. The final voting session is Monday, Dec 19.
Here is a list of Appropriations members:
Burzichelli, John J. – Chair
Lagana, Joseph A. – Vice-Chair
Lampitt, Pamela R.
Mosquera, Gabriela M.
Schaer, Gary S.
This is what I sent to all 3 of my state legislators via the N.J. Legislature’s Web site (go to the site, find one of your legislators, and choose “contact by e-mail”; you can then select all 3):
These bills (A4429 and S2855), allowing government offices to publish required notices online or not at all, instead of mandating newspaper publication, are antidemocratic, obfuscate government actions, make it harder for “regular citizens” (and noncitizens) to stay updated on what their governments are doing. They may also run counter to the intent of the NJ “Sunshine Law”. This must not pass in either chamber—in fact, it should not get out of committee. The savings are minor, if any—the governor’s figures themselves amount to <$9/person (using his $80 million and a population figure from World Population Review: http://worldpopulationreview.com/states/new-jersey-population/).
I would gladly pay $9 to preserve democracy—and I would even pay a couple of times that to cover those who would like to do so but are living in poverty. (Frankly, newspapers have stated that most of the money—80%—comes from private sources anyway, so the public portion would be more like $2 each). This is not a cost-saving measure, it is either a revenge bill or an antitransparency measure. I don’t care about motivation; all I care about is preserving access to government notices by all, in a printed newspaper. This is a vote that will decide my votes in upcoming elections.