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Legal notices are more important than you think

With the start of the New Year upon us, we want to encourage our readers to carefully comb through the pages of any and all newspapers that they read. Within the pages of your local or regional papers are lists of government notices. These notices can be long and cumbersome, or short and to the point. To some, these notices may seem unnecessary. To others, there is also a growing sentiment that the notices are outdated, and provide a service no longer necessary for modern readers. Those who carry such opinions also believe that it is cheaper on government entities, and ultimately, the tax payer, to not run government notices in a newspaper. There is a cost for the notices to go into black and white pages.
However, these notices include the times and dates of meetings by government bodies. Published legal notices also include the intent to sell properties, both private and public. They include the notification of auctions, easements and other legal actions about land and governmental plans. While some people believe that modern technology can easily replace these published notices, perhaps through governments sending text messages to those who request such a service, we believe that there is something to be said for publicly laying out such information for the ease of readers.
You should not have to have a smart phone to access such documents. You should also not have to have the forethought to look for such information. It should be printed, and easily found, in the pages of your local newspaper.
We encourage our readers to appreciate such notices. We also e
ncourage our readers to ask our elected lawmakers to continue to push for the mandated publication of such notices.
This is not just a local opinion. Recently, newspaper reporter Maryanne Reed wrote an article entitled “Fighting to keep public notices in newspapers.” The basis of her piece was to encourage the public to realize they lose when the government makes it harder to find out what is happening within their community and on their state grounds.
There are a multitude of states already considering new legislation that would no longer mandate that governments publish public notices in newspapers. We strongly disagree with this.
No such mandate or pre-filed law exists currently in South Carolina’s General Assembly. Yet. There again, we ask our readers to speak with their elected law makers about the need for governments to publish legal notices. It is not just for the nosey. It is for the continued enhancement of knowledge and plays a vital role in the checks-and-balances in the power of local governments.

Heather Walters (1491 Posts)