House Bill 195, the legislation on Public Notice advertising, was presented to the full House Wednesday afternoon and resulted in a lengthy discussion, some strong comments against subsidizing newspapers with taxpayer money and two floor amendments. Floor Amendment 1 by the sponsor was a technical correction.
But Floor Amendment 2 had a lengthy discussion before it came up for a vote. It was sponsored by Rep. Robert Goforth who stated taxpayer money should not be used to finance any private business such as newspapers. His floor amendment would have allowed all public agencies to use their government websites for posting notices instead of having to publish them in newspapers. Rep. Jeff Hoover and Rep. Stan Lee both spoke in favor of the amendment but there were numerous House members, from both sides of the aisle, speaking against the amendment. Most all noted that HB 195 was the result of weeks of comprising between the League of Cities, Association of Counties and KPA and that work should not be overlooked.
Here’s a pretty complete list of those speaking on behalf of newspapers and against House Floor Amendment 2 and then in support of HB 195. Among those speaking favorably to our side were Joe Graviss, Angie Hatton (3 times), Cluster Howard, Michael Meredith (3 times and very strong in his comments), John Blanton, Patti Minter, Wilson Stone, MacKenzie Cantrell, Ashley Tackett Laferty.
Speaking in support of the amendment were Robert Goforth, Jeff Hoover and Stan Lee. When a roll call vote was taken for Floor Amendment 2, it was defeated with 17 yea, 64 Nay.
The discussion then focused on the committee sub that was a result of the work of the three organizations. After several minutes of comments from House members, including some impassioned speeches by Rep. Michael Meredith and Rep. Angie Hatton (a former journalist), the vote was finally taken on the bill. It did pass 51-40.
You need to hear the discussion so here’s the video from the House floor —
Now when you open it, you will see a black screen that says it’s not available. SCROLL below that to the House Chamber/February 19, 2020, with a blue arrow and click on the arrow.
Scroll the time bar over to 28:00, and be ready to listen.
VOTE TOTALS — You can see how each Representative voted on three motions on HB 195 here:
The three votes from Wednesday are listed on the PDF. Angie Hatton said the Dems had zero warning about the plans for HB 195 and the surprise amendment.
Page 1 is vote to suspend the rules to let Robert GoForth call his amendment. 60Y, 20N
Page 2 is the vote to adopt the Amendment – 17Y, 64N
Page 3 is the final vote for passage – 51Y, 40N