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Transparency: Hiding legal notices online keeps us in dark

West Virginia Delegates Brandon Steele, R-Raleigh; Tony Paynter, R-Wyoming; and Geoff Foster, R-Putnam, want to make it harder for Mountain State residents to receive the information that is required to be made available to the public through legal advertising. Rather than employing the method that has kept their constituents informed for generations, these lawmakers are pushing for creation of a state-run website on which anyone required to publicly post information could bypass traditional means of communication. Another adjustment in the bill would require the information to be published fewer times.

One wonders what those living in the significant portions of both Steele’s and Paynter’s constituency with NO broadband access think of such a proposal.

In fact, as legislator after legislator has pointed out during this election year, West Virginia has a real problem when it comes to internet access — particularly in the more rural and poorer communities in a mostly rural in poor state. Meanwhile, legal advertisements published in local newspapers, as is now required, reach readers on and off line. Many are published more than once.

And, here’s the most important part, they are published by a third party. A system that allows King Bureaucracy to be in charge of the distribution of its own information is just begging for abuse.

Taxpayers have seen example after example of the fraud and incompetence that causes them harm at the hands of the bureaucrats and elected officials. Why on earth would we allow those parties the opportunity to apply those same attributes to their decisions about how keep us informed on their activities?

Let us hope lawmakers understand House Bill 4025 is simply an irredeemably bad bill and decide against giving it another chance to help keep West Virginians in the dark.

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