Cooper Vetoes Electronic Notices Bill ⋆ American Lens

Cooper Vetoes Electronic Notices Bill

Cooper Vetoes Electronic Notices Bill

The Jamestown News made a plea to Gov. Roy Cooper recently with a headline in large print, that he veto HB205, “WC for Inmates/UI & WC/Newsprint Employees.”

Their plea was fueled by a part of the bill that allowed Guilford County and local municipal governments to publish legal notices online, versus posting them in newspapers.

Monday night, Cooper heard the plea and responded by vetoing the bill.

In his veto statement Cooper said, “Included in this legislation is an important change to the Prison Industry Enhancement Program that I do support. I urge the legislature to address that separately and I will sign it. However, time and again, this legislature has used the levers of big government to attack important institutions in our state who may disagree with them from time to time. Unfortunately, this legislation is another example of that misguided philosophy meant to specifically threaten and harm the media. Legislation that enacts retribution on the media threatens a free and open press, which is fundamental to our democracy.”

In a statement of her own, Sen. Trudy Wade (R-Guilford) said that Cooper’s veto, “makes it clear his number one priority is brown-nosing those who cover him — to the detriment of the newspaper employees being denied worker’s compensation coverage, the taxpayers currently being forced to subsidize newspapers, the citizens who want to access public information for free and the public-school teachers he’s denying raises to.”

Related: Cooper Drops 6th Veto on Aerosolization Bill

The bill would specifically have allowed Guilford County and any municipality in Guilford County to use electronic means to provide public notices in lieu of publications. Public notices are a major source of revenue for papers.

The Jamestown News said in its plea to Cooper that they would go out of business if the bill were to become law.

The headline read, “Trudy Wade’s Bill Will Close Jamestown News. Governor’s Veto is Our Last Hope.”

Wade was behind adding the language to the bill regarding newspapers when the original bill, which dealt with workers’ compensation for inmates, was passed in the House and was heard by the Senate.

Part of the argument against the bill made by local papers such as the Jamestown News was that many of their readers do not have access to the Internet, and would lose access to the notices because of the bill.

Related:  Games Nights Bill Gets Cooper’s 7th Veto

The bill was changed a couple of times as it passed through Senate committees, and would have classified those who deliver and sell newspapers as employees by definition, had those changes stood.

Ultimately, those changes did not make it into the final bill, except for the removal of the wording in the statute that once stated there is a “rebuttable presumption” that persons selling or delivering newspapers or magazines are not employees.

Wade has a history of trying to get legal notices bills passed, which would allow governments to post those notices online instead of in newspapers. Last session, her efforts stalled, and this session they stalled again, except for using Guilford County essentially as a test case. Wade has been a frequent target of the Greensboro News & Record, especially last session as they opposed her bill to redistrict the Greensboro City Council.

The paper’s publisher, Daniel Finnegan said in a statement that Cooper deserves a great deal of credit for standing up to the General Assembly.

The bill passed 60-53 in the House, not enough to override Cooper’s veto on the original vote but the bill may be taken up again in the short session beginning in August.

This article first appeared NC Capitol Connection. 

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A.P. Dillon

Co-Founder, Managing Editor

A.P. Dillon is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of American Lens and is the founder the popular North Carolina based blog, ​A.P. Dillon has been a contributor at Breitbart, IJ Review, DaTechGuy Blog, Civitas Institute and The Heartland Institute. Her writing has been cited by Conservative Review, The Gateway Pundit, The Daily Caller, PJ Media, The Blaze, Michelle Malkin, Twitchy, Truth In American Education, Breitbart and FOX news. She has been a leading voice of Common Core opposition in North Carolina since 2011.

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