Newspapers are not going to lose a government-mandated source of revenue, at least not this year.
On a 24-33 vote, the House of Representatives today killed legislation that would have eliminated the requirement for new corporations to publish their articles of incorporation three times in a newspaper. HB2554 also would have scrapped similar publication requirements for other changes in corporate structure.
The vote came despite exhortations by Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, to kill what he said is an outdated and no longer necessary requirement.
Kavanagh said the Arizona Corporation Commission already makes the same information available on its web site.
His measure contained a $65,000 appropriation to the commission to make the information searchable. Kavanagh said that fee, which would be paid by corporations through their filing fees, is far cheaper than what he estimated is the $12 million a year that companies now pay newspapers for publication.
He also questioned the usefulness of the requirement, pointing out that the necessary publication can be in any newspaper in the same county. Kavanagh said that has resulted in businesses forming in Peoria putting their notices in the Fountain Hills Times.
Kavanagh also rejected arguments that legislators should keep the publication requirements, what with Internet access, to keep smaller newspapers alive.
“If we use that philosophy, we would require every auto manufacturer to put a buggy whip in the trunk because we would not want those buggy whip manufacturers to go out of business with the advent of the automobile,” he said. “This is an anti-business favor to newspapers.”
No one spoke in favor of keeping the publication requirement.
Rep. Mark Cardenas, D-Phoenix, voted to keep the law as it is. But Cardenas insisted it was not because he thought having businesses publish their corporate papers makes sense. He said the state should look at eliminating all publication mandates, including those that now exist for cities and counties to buy advertising.
Bills to do exactly that have failed in prior years.