City councils and county commissions would be able to publish legally required notices, such as contract bids and foreclosures, on their own websites rather than in newspapers under a bill approved in the state Senate on Tuesday.
Half of the cost charged to those who have to publish the notices would go to supplement local teachers’ pay. Bill sponsor Sen. Trudy Wade, a Republican from Greensboro, said that would add tens of thousands of dollars in teacher pay.
The bill would also require newspapers that publish legal notices in print to also publish them on their websites without additional charge.
It passed 30-19, and now goes to the House.
Several senators objected because the loss of advertising revenue would harm small newspapers. Sen. Gladys Robinson, a Democrat from Guilford County, said it would drive some papers out of business.
Sen. Ralph Hise, a Republican from Spruce Pine, said technology has changed the newspaper landscape and resulted in fewer subscribers to see the notices.
Another bill that would have maintained the requirement that legal notices be published in newspaper classified ad sections has languished in a House committee.