HARRISBURG—State Senator John DiSanto (Dauphin/Perry) has reintroduced legislation to modernize a costly and archaic state mandate requiring school districts and municipalities to publish all public notices in a printed local newspaper.
Current law requires local governments to publish notice of various board and committee meetings, bidding requirements and contracts, and official advertisements in print newspapers of general circulation. While transparency and an informed public are vitally important, the elimination of regular publishing and increasing advertising costs due to decreased print demand is making this mandate more difficult and expensive for local governments.
DiSanto’s Senate Bill 252 provides flexibility to meet these advertising requirements through a menu of print and electronic options such as a local government’s regularly printed publications or internet website. In an era when far more Pennsylvanians prefer to get their news online, the broad reach and convenience of technology makes public notices more efficient while substantially reducing costs as many local governments are experiencing revenue declines caused by COVID-19.
“Print newspaper requirements for local government notices were created long before the internet changed the ways people receive information,” DiSanto said. “Allowing advertisements to be published electronically is not only more cost-effective, but also more transparent as notices will be more easily searchable and available to residents on their smartphones, tablets, and computers.”
Senate Bill 252 has been referred to the Senate Local Government Committee and has the support of the PA School Boards Association, County Commissioners Association of PA, PA Municipal Authorities Association, PA Municipal League, PA State Association of Boroughs, PA State Association of Township Supervisors, and PA State Association of Township Commissioners.
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