From the Parke County Sentinel (Rockville):

Q: A township trustee said that the township’s 2016 budget will not have to be published in newspapers. Is that correct?

A: Yes. HSPA reported that legislation was passed that makes this fall the last year the budget would be published along with the notice of budget hearing.

That was a compromise reached between state House and Senate bill sponsors.

State Rep. Dan Leonard, R-Huntington, wanted to eliminate the provision immediately. State Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek, called for two years before the requirement was removed from law.

The compromise was one more year.

The legislation was sought by the state Department of Local Government Finance, which wants to put budget information on its website instead of in newspapers.

(Actually, I think they want to eliminate the publication requirement so they don’t have to be the bad guy when local officials don’t publish their budget notice properly and the department has to tell them their new budget can’t be approved.)

Hershman is one of the four legislators HSPA is working with to craft a statewide survey of the public’s attitude toward publication of public notices. Our hope is the anticipated support for it compared to state website postings will give HSPA leverage to eliminate the sunset provision on the budget publication.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.

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