Disenfranchisement

Access to the Internet varies, but is significantly lower in rural communities, among the elderly and disabled, and among minority communities. Moving Public Notices to the Internet will make it more difficult for many Texans to read, or even have access to those notices.

  • Least likely to use the Internet are seniors, adults with less than a high school education, and those living in households earning less than $30,000 per year. ii
  • 45% of African-Americans do not live in households with access to the Internet. In fact, 32% of African Americans have no one in their household who can access the Internet from any location.
  • 53% of Hispanics do not use the Internet at home. In fact, 36% of Hispanics have no one in their household who can access the Internet from any location. iii
  • Only 54% of adults living with a disability use the Internet.
  • 20% of American adults do not use the Internet at all. iv

Minority Access to Public Notice matters.

State and local agencies are required to make a good faith effort to utilize Historically Underutilized Businesses (“HUB”s) in contracts. Proposed Texas State HUB goals range from 11% to 32%, depending on the procurement category. In the most recent disparity study, none of these goals were achieved. v

As noted, public notice is principally about transparency, not procurement. Minorities, the elderly and disabled, and all other Texans have a right to know how their government is spending their tax dollars, and reducing public notice will disenfranchise many. Opponents of printed newspaper notice argue that libraries have Internet. But libraries also have newspapers, which are easier to navigate than dozens of different websites.