A freshman lawmaker is ready to fix an archaic Alabama law that mandates newspapers get tax dollarsRickey Stokes
Posted by: RStokes
Date: Mar 02 2019 8:37 PM
The Alabama legislature has a lot on its plate this legislative session. There could be a gas taxes increase, a teacher pay raise, a Medicaid expansion and who knows what other ways the state’s leaders could come up with to spend tax dollars.
What we have not seen is a conversation about making government more efficient, but that may be changing.
Recently, many voters and some legislators have become aware of an antiquated state law that requires government entities, and even some private entities, to hand over money to Alabama’s local newspapers. The amount of money these companies are making is a matter of dispute, but across the state, the cost to local governments is sometimes in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range.
The printing of law notices, voter lists and other matters is big business for newspapers, large and small. The Democrat-Reporter of recent racist fame received $350,000+ from these notices last year and AL.com’s Alabama Media Group received over $500,000.
Needless to say, this information is quite shocking to the average person, and even freshman State Rep. Andrew Sorrell (R-Muscle Shoals) was surprised at the amount of money this law mandates be spent on legal advertising.
NOTE: You will not see this covered much by the print media and there will be some high priced lobbyist fighting this for the print media. The main thing keeping what newspapers alive now are (1) legal ads (2) obituaries (3) coupon inserts of sale papers.
The last time I checked between the City of Dothan and Houston County, about $ 200,000.00 a year is spent with Media General ( The Dothan Eagle ) for the required legal ads. Obituaries, a normal sized obituary to run only once is $ 300 to $ 400.
On www.rickeystokesnews.com obituaries are free and the funeral homes have their own passwords to post those obituaries when they are ready, 24/7, 365 days a year at no cost.
If Dothan and Houston County spend $ 200,000.00, multiply that figure times 67 counties across the State of Alabama.
This Representative is doing what needs to be done but he will meet strong opposition.