Media loses Round 1 in House, but not by much
A House council voted 8-6 Wednesday in favor of a bill that would let cities and counties post legal notices on the Internet instead of buying print ads in their local newspapers. Passage came despite opposition by lobbyists for a variety of publications, including the Daily Business Review papers in South Florida, the Tallahassee Democrat, Florida Press Association and others.
The bill (HB 1511) by Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, is a priority of the Florida League of Cities and Florida Association of Counties. They claim they will save millions of dollars on legal ads if they are allowed to comply with public notice requirements on their Web sites or public access TV channels, and offer to mail notices to the homes of interested residents.
Voting yes were Republican Reps. Kevin Ambler, Tom Anderson, Jim Frishe, Doug Holder, Paige Kreegel, Debbie Mayfield and Chairman Rob Schenck. Voting no: Democrats Oscar Braynon, Janet Cruz, Rick Kriseman, Scott Randolph and Kelly Skidmore and Republican Charles McBurney.
Ambler pulled the time-honored move of arguing against the bill before voting for it. He said he voted for the bill "reluctantly" and told Workman not to necessarily count on his vote if the bill is not changed. Had Ambler voted no, the bill would have failed on a 7-7 vote. In debate, Kreegel called St. Petersburg Times business reporter-columnist Robert Trigaux a "dingbat" for inaccurately citing his committee assignments.