Honolulu Civil Beat Article – March 03, 2022

Bill Would Allow Government Agencies To Reduce Their Newspaper Advertising

A measure to allow state and county agencies to stop publishing certain official notices in Hawaii’s daily newspapers was approved by a key Senate committee Thursday despite objections from the publisher of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and other critics.

Senate Bill 2111 would allow Hawaii government agencies to publish some public notices on the agencies’ web sites instead of in the newspapers, which Senate Judiciary Chairman Karl Rhoads said “would save the state a lot of money.”

Sandy Ma, executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, raised concerns that allowing government agencies to publish public notices on official websites instead of in a newspaper would “increase the divide in government services and accessibility between those with broadband access and those without.”

She suggested that only “routine and non-critical public notices” be posted on official websites instead of in a newspaper, and said agencies that plan to shift notices to websites be required to routinely publish announcements of that plan in physical publications for at least a year before they actually place notices exclusively online.

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