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Letter to the editor: Keep public notices in the hands of local businesses, not government

Dear Editor,

The Wisconsin legislature is currently considering a bill that would give local governments the option to stop publishing a summary of their actions in your newspaper. Senate Bill 55 would allow local municipalities to post meeting minutes on their websites instead.

This is bad public policy under the guise of cost savings that would create considerable disruption for government transparency. Supporters of Senate Bill 55 suggest local government websites are sufficient to notify the public of their actions and that publishing meeting minutes in the newspaper limits access only to newspaper subscribers.

The fact is, however, that all legal notices published in the State of Wisconsin are available and accessible for free to the public through This comprehensive, searchable website hosted by the Wisconsin newspaper industry brings together ink-on-paper notices into one online location. This service is provided at no cost to local municipalities.

The goal of and The Daily Reporter’s public notice website is to enhance government distribution of public information and assist citizens who want to know more about the actions of their local, county and state representatives. This permanent, third-party documentation – unalterable and independent of government – ensures the protection of “your right to know” for every citizen.

The relationship between newspapers, state and local municipalities, and The Daily Reporter has successfully provided easy access to government information for all citizens, whether they seek it in print or online. Removing existing publication requirements would create holes in this invaluable statewide database while also neglecting the needs of those who lack adequate computer and internet access.

Please tell your legislators to oppose this unnecessary barrier to government transparency.


Beth Bennett
Executive Director
Wisconsin Newspaper Association


  1. Website postings make much more sense are are much more convenient than this outdated mode of thinking called print that only a few hundred oldsters get.

  2. The purpose is transparency, as well as to promote competitive bidding. As an A/E firm, we are contacted by lots of private plan rooms who search out and find projects to market to their subscribers. The internet changed information distribution and this requirement to use the “newspaper” is just another vestige of the past. Yes, the statewide database kept it relevant for a bit longer, but with competition all around, it’s hard to say we need to mandate revenue go to a single industry.

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