A House panel on Tuesday voted down a Republican-backed push to move legal notices of foreclosures from newspapers to the web.
In lengthy debate on HB 149/SB 230, a majority of lawmakers ultimately sided with opponents that include former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, representing Keep the Public Noticed Coalition, and the Florida Press Association, a trade group whose members include the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald. The vote was 9-5.
Supporters of the idea praised it as foward-thinking as newspaper readership declines. But a few members explained their no vote by citing elderly populations back home who may not be comfortable using the Internet or computers.
"In Tampa we have a very sizeable elderly Latin population who I'm quite certain don't have access to computers like many of us do, and they rely on some of our smaller papers to get all of their information," said Rep. Shawn Harrison, R-Temple Terrace. "And I think this being the last bastion of protection for some of those populations, I just can't support it in good conscience. I just don't think we're there yet."
"We should be aiming to cast the widest net possible," said Kottkamp, who added newspapers put the information online for free.