Brevard Commission Vice Chair Bryan Lober To Propose Resolution Supporting Passage of Public Notice Reform
By Space Coast Daily // March 20, 2019
Brevard Sheriff Wayne Ivey fully supports Rep. Randy Fine's 2019 Public Notice Reform Act
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: State Representative Randy Fine and Brevard Sheriff Wayne Ivey held a joint press conference to announce Representative Fine’s sixth and final proposed piece of legislation for the 2019 Legislative Session which calls for Public Notice Reform.
REP. RANDY FINE: Public Notice Reform Act would increase accessibility to Public Notices, save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA – Brevard County Commission Vice Chair Bryan Lober will propose a resolution during the next regular meeting of the commission on Tuesday, March 26 at 9 a.m. in support of Representative Randy Fine’s (R-Palm Bay) 2019 Public Notice Reform Act HB 1235.
Rep. Fine was joined by Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey, who fully supports the bill, to announce the Public Notice Reform Act during a recent press conference at the Government Center in Viera.
“As an elected official, and a taxpayer, this bill makes perfect sense,” said Sheriff Ivey.
“As the law sits right now, if we (Brevard County Sheriff’s Office) are going to do an auction, we have to do a public notice in the newspaper and there is a fee associated with that. We could just as easily put out that public notice online or a website.
“But as of now, the only avenue that is admissible is for us to put it up on public notice. Some of our citizens are on fixed incomes and can’t afford the printed paper. This (bill) will allow us to take taxpayer dollars we have designated in the public notice arena and be able to utilize it in other areas such as fixing the lagoon, public safety and infrastructure. For example, Brevard County has an infrastructure problem and this will allow us to use those resources to fix that.
“We are going to collectively work together to see that this happens,” said Sheriff Ivey.
REQUESTED ACTION: The commission is asked to approve the attached resolution drafted by Commissioner Lober.
SUMMARY EXPLANATION and BACKGROUND: Representative Randy Fine has filed HB 1235 for consideration during the 2019 Regular Session. Should this bill pass and be signed into law, it would eliminate the requirement that the County advertise legal notices within a newspaper and would allow such notices to be placed online, saving taxpayers a tremendous amount of money.
Supporting the Passage of House Bill 1235
WHEREAS, House Bill 1235, an act relating to legal notices, has been introduced by Representative Randy Fine of Dist. 53; and
WHEREAS, in the most recent completed fiscal year, the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners spent approximately $75,000 on legal advertising; and
WHEREAS, last year, the Tax Collector spent at least $209,997.48 on legal advertising; and
WHEREAS, in the most recent completed fiscal year, the Brevard County Clerk of the Court spent $39,461.02 on legal advertising; and
WHEREAS, in the current fiscal year, to date, the Supervisor of Elections has spent $26,424 on legal advertising; and
WHEREAS, the Sheriff’s Office and the Property Appraiser also spend funds on legal advertising; and
WHEREAS, the cities of Cape Canaveral, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Indian Harbour Beach, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Rockledge, Satellite Beach, Titusville and West Melbourne also spend funds on legal advertising; and
WHEREAS, the towns of Grant-Valkaria, Indialantic, Malabar, Melbourne Beach, Melbourne Village and Palm Shores also spend funds on legal advertising; and
WHEREAS, newspaper circulation continues to decline despite a growing population; and
WHEREAS, online access continues to increase with a growing population; and
WHEREAS, it is not typically the place of government to prop up failing businesses; and
WHEREAS, there exists no extenuating reason for government to subsidize failing media ventures with tax dollars that could otherwise be put to beneficial use providing essential
services or otherwise benefitting constituents; and
WHEREAS, in the age of digital information, news is freely, timely and continually available online without subscription costs which limit readership; and
WHEREAS, in the age of digital information, far more consumers obtain their news online than from newspapers; and
WHEREAS, the credibility of newspapers has, over years, eroded as evidence of ongoing bias incorporated into so-called journalism comes to light; and
WHEREAS, the credibility of newspapers continues to erode due to demonstrably biased reporting; and
WHEREAS, newspapers suffer lost trustworthiness based upon the manner in which they report on stories they choose to cover as well as based upon the stories which they refuse to cover; and
WHEREAS, countless consumers, understandably, no longer trust newspapers to be a credible source of unbiased information; and
WHEREAS, government advertising in newspapers may lend a degree of legitimacy to an otherwise flawed product; and
WHEREAS, just as email has largely supplanted facsimile machines, so too is the internet replacing traditional newspapers for most Americans; and
WHEREAS, this trend of a shrinking subscriber base is projected to continue as is the trend of increased access to the internet; and
WHEREAS, the market has shifted from daily print media to an online and on-demand model in which consumers of all socioeconomic levels are able to access information; and
WHEREAS, any claim by the media that this will negatively impact the public is disingenuous and self-serving; and
WHEREAS, in certain markets there exist only one or two newspapers with which government may advertise due to the requirements presently in place; and
WHEREAS, in such monopoly markets, newspapers may charge exorbitant and abusive rates and government has no choice but to pay whatever is asked; and
WHEREAS, each and every aforementioned concern applies to our most widely distributed local newspaper which has earned such a reputation as to be referred to, by some, as the unofficial news source of a particular political party; and
WHEREAS, House Bill 1235 does not obviate government’s obligation to provide legal notice; and
WHEREAS, if House Bill 1235 is passed, government will still be required to advertise legal notices; and
WHEREAS, if House Bill 1235 is passed, legal notices will have to be advertised on a publicly accessible website; and
WHEREAS, publication on a publicly accessible website will ensure the broadest possible audience and the greatest possible viewership; and
WHEREAS, if House Bill 1235 is passed, individuals who prefer to receive legal notices by first-class mail or email will be entitled to register their physical address or email address, for this purpose, and will receive legal notices in this manner.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA, does let it be known that it supports the passage of House Bill 1235. DONE, ORDERED AND ADOPTED, in regular session, this 26th day of March, 2019.
Kristine Isnardi, Chair
Board of County Commissioners
Brevard County, Florida
Scott Ellis, Clerk
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