STATE — The Sierra Club announced its opposition to a bill introduced in the state Senate last month that would allow local, county and state governments to meet publication requirements for legal notices through postings on official government web sites. Public notices must be published in local newspapers under current law.
“The more government does without public scrutiny, the more it undermines the public perception of government and government itself,” New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said.
The Sierra Club supports the posting of legal notices on official web sites so citizens with internet have an additional ability to learn about potential government actions. However, the club expressed concerned that this method of notification in many cases will take the place of published notices in a local newspaper, eliminating the right of citizens without internet to know what their government is doing.
Even citizens with internet access may not check their town’s web site on a regular basis to find out about important notices regarding contaminated wells, local development, and zoning changes, a club spokesperson said. People who have a newspaper delivered are more likely to check the legal notices than go on the internet.
“They’re using the budget as an excuse to close the door on open government,” Tittel said. “Sunshine is the best disinfectant for what’s wrong with our government.”
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