|We applaud Gov. John Hickenlooper for his veto on Tuesday of Senate Bill 18-156 which would have allowed county governments to forgo the publication of certain financial legal notices which have been required by the state for a century.
The legal notices in question are the monthly vouchers of county expenditures, and the twice-annual list of county employee salaries.
The governor’s veto hardly impacts the Tribune. As readers know, the county commissioners punitively gave the county’s legal notices to the local tea party publication, despite the fact that the Trib’s circulation is five times or more greater than the competition’s meager and declining readership. (We are still the newspaper of record for more than a dozen governmental entities, from the towns of Westcliffe and Silver Cliff to the State Brand Inspector.)
Still, we feel it’s as important as ever for a county’s finances to be transparent to the public. Counties have argued that legal notices can be published, at reduced expense, on various county websites. But we’re not convinced that there is much permanence – as in a permanent record – of such ethereal formats. The current cost for these “statutory” legal publications was set by the state legislature some two decades ago, and remain a miniscule portion of a governmental entity’s overall budget.
Hickenlooper’s veto letter says the legislature can revisit the legal notice matter sometime in the future, once full broadband capabilities are available in every Colorado community, large or small. That, we believe, is a proper response by our obviously thoughtful governor.