For the second time in a week, newspaper owners and publishers won a battle to preserve requirements that some governments and organizations purchase legal advertising from them.
By a 14-12 margin, the Senate on Thursday killed SB 1605, which would have allowed Pima and Maricopa counties to stop publishing legal notices when they want to put a construction project out for bid. Instead, counties would have been able to simply send notices to anyone interested, or to put the request online.
The move disappointed Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa.
“We continue to go through an antiquated system of government here,’’ he said. “This bill will save the government money.’’
But the plan ran into stiff opposition from the Arizona Newspapers Association, many of whose members have contracts with their counties to publish these notices. Lobbyists have argued that the current system ensures public access and provide independent verification that the notice was, in fact, provided.
Earlier this week, an 18-11 vote in the Senate killed separate legislation that would have eliminated existing requirement for publication of documents filed with either the Arizona Corporation Commission or the Secretary of State’s Office. SB 1399 would instead have allowed for these documents to be posted on a website.
Opposition to both measures was bipartisan.