Perry County Mayor Says Public Notices Will Remain in This Newspaper
MVP Regional News Editor
A proposal to allow county government, public-meeting notices to be posted on county websites instead of newspapers is making its way through committees of the 113th Tennessee General Assembly.
House Bill 449 (Senate Bill 550) is sponsored by Republican Rep. Elaine Davis of Knoxville. The legislation eliminates the requirement for county governments to publish public meeting notices in a newspaper of general circulation.
Instead, government meeting notices would move to a county’s secured website, an e-newsletter or community members could request meeting notices be mailed to them from the county government.
Perry County Mayor John Carroll said nothing would change for his county-government operations as his office would continue to print meeting notices in this newspaper.
“We still have a lot of people in our community who don’t have access to the internet, so nothing would change for us,” Carroll said.
The website, perrycountygov.com, is an undertaking by the county’s Chamber of Commerce. It contains information for tourism, government and judicial information listings.
Most of the county-government websites ido not offer notices, agendas for upcoming meetings, or even minutes from past meetings.
During the bill’s introduction in the House Public Service subcommittee last week, Davis presented an amendment allowing county governments to refuse hard-copy, meeting-notice requests if they feel it is in “bad faith.”
She explained officials who believe people requesting meeting notices to be mailed to them are only doing so to put an expense burden on the county could be denied their request.
Rep. Kelly Keisling of Byrdstown told Davis “higher education is having a heartburn” with the proposal and requested she amend the legislation to exclude institutions of higher education in the bill. She agreed to amend it.
“We want government bodies to be able to modernize the way they provide their information,” Davis explained to House subcommittee members. The subcommittee unanimously passed the bill.
This week, the Senate State and Local Government Committee will consider the Senate version of the proposed legislation.
Sen. Ed Jackson represents Perry County. He may be contacted at 1-615-741-1810 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kirk Haston is the House representative for Perry County. Contact him at 1-615-741-0750 or by email to email@example.com.
Davis may be reached at 1-615-741-2287 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.