Legislation before the Rhode Island General Assembly would take a swipe at both newspapers and transparency in government — two things that are intrinsically linked. House Bill 6375 and Senate Bill 916 seek to override any state laws that require municipal governments to post notices in print newspapers.
An informal review by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) revealed nearly 200 Rhode Island statutes currently requiring published legal notices. Thus, in nearly 200 instances, state lawmakers deemed the information so important that they required government agencies to actively distribute printed notice to Rhode Island’s citizens, and this practice has continued for many decades.
Now legislation would wipe out the entire practice and override nearly 200 state statutes. Replacing the thousands of notices currently posted in the state’s newspapers would be a digital clearinghouse on the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s website.