News and Editorials

Commissioners approves resolution supporting public notices- The Crockett County Commissioners’ Court passed a resolution [on Dec. 8, 2014] supporting public notices in newspapers. Ozona Stockman Editor and Publisher Melissa Perner presented the resolution that stated “the purpose of public notices is to make citizens aware of governmental actions and intent,” and “eliminating print notice would effectively disenfranchise these citizens from civic involvement.” The Crocket County School Board passed a similar resolution on Dec. 17.

EDITORIAL: Public Notices should remain in newspapers - Newspapers and their websites are independent, trustworthy forums for public notification. They also are more widely available to the public than an obscure government website that is subject to self-serving manipulation and seldom thought of as a source of news… The public deserves the widest possible notice of what their local, regional and state governments are up to.

South Dakota survey finds that nearly half of that state’s residents read public notices-  A statewide telephone survey commissuined by the South Dakota Newspaper Association found that 48.7 percent of South Dakotans read public notices such as school board minutes and zoning notices either frequently or sometimes.

Paying the Price of E-Filing: E-Filing Mandate Spurs Spending on Tech Upgrades-and Paper- Texas Lawyer filed public information requests and learned that 19 counties have spent a total of $5.76 million to implement the e-filing mandate and have budgeted nearly another $3 million more for the same purpose. Those same counties have only collected  a total of $1.33 million from the e-filing fee intended to recoup set-up costs. Expenses included computer equipment, software, printers and scanners, Internet bandwidth and labor costs. Counties reported increases in paper and toner costs.

 Editorial: Public’s right to know is a worthy legislative agenda- Corpus Christi Caller Times reports on the honoring of four elected officials who have defended the people’s right to a free flow of information

Trusting the Electronic Record? Online Opinions Don’t Match Final Supreme Court Decisions- The US Supreme Court has been quietly revising its decisions years after they were issued, altering the law of the land without notifying the public, says a new study by Harvard law professor Richard Lazarus. The revisions include what he calls “truly substantive changes in factual statements and legal reasonsing.”

Newspapers Are Still Here and Still Making Money- Caroline Little explains why the “sky is falling and newspapers are always dying” refrain is wrong and highlights how many newspaper companies are healthy and growing.

Insufficient Public Notice raises stink about pig farm- At the heart of a brewing stink over a proposed Arkansas pig farm are the public notices, which were legally sufficient but which critics say did not result in properly informing the public about the plan. State law required the notice only to be carried on the agency’s website, which it was. It was never published in the local newspaper.

More offline adults say the Internet is too hard to use. Fifteen percent of Americans don’t use the Internet at all, with the reasons being relevance, price, usability and availability, according to the Pew Research Center.

In Rural Texas, Living Without Home Internet: Article in the Texas Tribune explores the digital divide, noting that 31% of Texas adults don’t have high-speed internet at home and discusses lack of availability in rural areas.

 Newspapers — still the best way to post legal notices- Donnis Baggett highlights the minimal investment- and large public benefit- to legal notices in newspapers.