My reading of Joel Kitchens' press release is that providing publishers more opportunities "...to receive compensation for printing legal notices..." is going to result in greater taxpayer costs for counties and municipalities.
My suggestion is that if the legislative goal is actually to make legal notices more widely available via internet posting on newspaper websites, the logical legislative means to provide for that, needs to be to allocating that same public funding to counties and municipalities to provide that service and avoid higher taxpayer costs by allowing our government subdivisions to self-publish these legal notices on existing government run websites. Keep the local tax money in house, so-to-speak, as there is no need to pay more for private sector services that could be readily publicly provided.
The ridiculous and specious argument that all small towns may not have a local newspaper is easily and completely dismissed by the fact that every county and municipality likely already has a government managed website and can actually better provide for the claimed intent of the proposed legislation, than this apparent and outrageous transfer of public dollars to private interests, which in itself carries the stench of an apparent conflict of interest for legislators, through potentially getting more favorable news coverage or fewer critiques from the press. This has an appearance of another quid pro quo. The Wisconsin Newspaper Association favors it? Any wonder why that is?
This legislation as I understand it, also exactly fits the definition of blatant fascism, i.e., government enacting legislation to funnel more public money to benefit private commercial interests. Our Legislative Committee must, in the public interest, immediately resolve to formally oppose Kitchens and Cowles on this proposed and needless legislation.
Amend the rules and statutes to allow governmental unit on-line publishing of legal notices and provide the necessary appropriations to make it a reality.
Peace and Resolve,