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Closing the Door on Open Government

Date : Mon, 19 Jul 2010 14:32:50 -0400

For Immediate Release
July 19, 2010 Contact: Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club Director, 609-558-9100

Closing the Door on Open Government Eliminating notice takes away citizens right to know

The Sierra Club opposes the passage of S2072, a bill that allows local, county and state governments to meet publication requirements for legal notice through postings on official government Web sites.

The Sierra Club supports the posting of legal notices on official Web sites so citizens with internet have an additional ability to learn about potential government actions. However, we are concerned that this method of notification in many cases will take the place of published notices in a local newspaper, eliminating the right of citizens without internet to know what their government is doing.

"The more government does without public scrutiny, the more it undermines the public perception of government and government itself," New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said.

We are concerned that this bill is part of an ongoing process to not only weaken environmental protections but to also take away the rights of citizens to be informed about what their government is doing. Even citizens with internet access may not check their town's Web site on a regular basis to find out about important notices regarding contaminated wells, local development, and zoning changes. People who have a newspaper delivered are more likely to check the legal notices than go on the internet. We feel this bill will lead to citizens lacking information that affects their lives, property, and families.

Many small newspapers rely on these legal advertisements to keep afloat and without them, local newspapers may close, resulting in less scrutiny of local government and a citizen's right to know. We believe governments should be required to post notices both online and in the newspaper and should also set up facebook, twitter and email alert systems to better inform the public.

"They're using the budget as an excuse to close the door on open government," Tittel said. "Sunshine is the best disinfectant for what's wrong with our government."

Kara Seymour, Program Assistant NJ Sierra Club 145 W. Hanover Street Trenton, NJ 08618 609.656.7612 (f) 609.656.7618  <>   Received on 2010-07-19 11:32:50

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
or email Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator, at

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