Fracas in Legislature over online notices

A bill that would put public notices online, and would decrease the ad revenue of newspapers, has gotten an inordinate amount of attention. It’s become such a hot-button that the bill was pulled off the floor and sent back to House Rules, where bills like this go to die.

A little background: As it is, state agencies and some local governments are required to publish some legal notices, such as meetings, foreclosures, and certain court notices. They do so often in their local newspapers. A bill introduced by Rep. Mike Hawker would allow certain notices, such as housing foreclosure notices, to be put online. Legal notices from state agencies would not be affected, but some of those agencies would be allowed to put some reports, like annual reports, online instead of in print. Allowing Anchorage to put foreclosure notices online would save the city about $20,000, the muni said. Annual reports cost the state about $1.6 million in 2011. Both Anchorage and the Alaska Municipal League wrote letters in support of the bill.

It’s pretty innocuous on the face of it. However, if it passed and worked well, it would likely lead to all state agency notices bypassing newspapers. Then, the situation wouldn’t be so innocuous and it would very much effect the revenue of newspapers.

At a press conference, Anchorage Daily News reporter Rich Mauer accused Hawker of introducing the bill in order to seek retribution on the paper for its coverage of Hawker’s roll in the Legislative Office Building. Hawker called the charged ludicrous.

Rep. Ben Nageak of Barrow, who also supported the bill, was also accused of trying to get retribution on the Daily News, something that he denied also. Jenny Canfield, a Juneau Empire reporter got caught in the mess and was fired.

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2 thoughts on “Fracas in Legislature over online notices

  1. AncVoter

    The online public notice bill would save money. Heck, I would be satidfied if they were just all printed on a state website some where. The vast majority never reads or looks at them anyway. The reporter Richard Mauer is a sour hateful individual. His writing is alaways mean-spirited and appears to be a continual attempt to put people dow, especially politicians. Hawker is smart bit arrogant and often times too close to the special interest, can you say Matk Pfeffer ? Mauer and Hawker deserve each other but I think that the online public notice legislation is one of Hawker’s good ideas as oppopsed to the Taj MaHawker legislative office building which is a multiple of the state’s highest lease in Anchorage. Hawker owes all Alaskans an apolog that deal.

  2. akmom

    I spent 28 years in state government. All of it with admin services for my department. Twenty of those years were in active lease and facility management. The “deal” made for leasing that building is unconscionable. My department walked away from many negotiations for far less money. Which brings us to the question……1) Is Hawker incompetent or 2) were there other less honorable factors involved?

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