by Sam Hieb
Greensboro News & Record and Rhino Times cover the bill co-sponsored by state Sens. Gladys Robinson and Michael Garrett to repeal the Guilford County a pilot program that allowed local governments, businesses and private citizens to meet public notice requirements by only having those notices posted on the county’s website. Certainly it’s no coincidence that Garrett represents District 27 after defeating incumbent Trudy Wade in the 2018 election, and that Wade was the sponsor of the bill creating Guilford’s pilot program.
Rhino Times focuses on county commissioners’ reaction to the bill, entitled “An Act Restoring Fair Treatment for Journalism in Guilford County by Repealing a Pilot Program Authorizing Guilford County and Municipalities Located Wholly or Partly in Guilford County to Publish Required Notices Electronically and Authorizing Guilford County to Publish Legal Notices Via The County-Maintained Web Site for a Fee.”
On Friday, March 15, Guilford County Commissioner Hank Henning said he wishes that the newspapers that are engaging in this fight would come out and admit what this is really about.
“Let’s just be transparent,” Henning said. “It has everything to do with their revenue streams.”
Once Guilford County fully implements its public notice system, those newspapers stand to lose a great deal of money.
Henning said the world and its methods of communication have changed radically over the years and the laws should keep up.
“In this day and age, there are all sorts of means of communication that reach people,” Henning said, “and for the law to require that the ads be put into print newspapers is just ludicrous. I don’t think we should use tax dollars to subsidize private businesses.”
And –you guessed it–the county is not only fighting a political battle–it is also fighting a legal battle as four local papers–including the N&R—in a lawsuit against the new public-notices law.