A bill written to reduce mandates on local governments was amended Wednesday to require most legal notices still to be printed in local newspapers.
Rep. Roger Crawford, R-Mora, wrote the bill to help governments save money, but on a split voice vote a House committee opted to keep legal notice requirements pretty much as is.
Crawfordâ€™s bill would have allowed governments to put more legal notices on the Internet instead of printing in a local newspaper.
â€œThere may be time when we donâ€™t use paper for anything, but that time has not come,â€ Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, said, adding that some small newspapers depend on legal notices for quite a bit of their revenue.
But Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah shot back that newspapers â€œwill adapt. … It is not local governmentâ€™s job to subsidize businesses.â€
Older Minnesotans would especially be hurt by putting legal notices on line, Rep. Frank Hornstein, DFL-Minneapolis, said, because fewer in that age bracket use computers.
Sandra Neren, representing Minnesotaâ€™s 370 newspapers, said newspaper Web sites such as the West Central Tribune in Willmar attract more than a million page views a month, while government Web sites generally receive far less traffic.