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Sunday May 1st, 2016 7:57AM

Mecum defends request for change in legal organ law

By B.J. Williams News Director
GAINESVILLE - A suggestion from the chairman of the Hall County Commission to change the state law for legal organs has sparked some controversy with the local newspaper.

Dick Mecum appeared on WDUN's Morning Talk Wednesday to clarify his request, saying reading habits have changed since the state law was written in 1969.

"If you look at it today, you're going to find, probably, that people 45 and under don't get their information from newspapers - they get it off the internet," said Mecum.

Under the law, the legal organ for advertising public notices must be a printed newspaper. The Times is currently the legal organ for Gainesville and Hall County. (See link to Georgia Press Association website below.)

Mecum defended approaching the local legislative delegation to ask for a change in the state law, saying that he believes online advertising of public notices will reach a larger portion of the Hall County population. He said the more people who have access to public notices, the better the lines of communication.

"That's where the transparency comes in...can we make it more transparent by going digital?" asked Mecum.

In addition, he said the county might save money by placing public notices online as opposed to a print publication.

"It appears through December of this year, we will have spent about $45,000...just on legal ads," said Mecum. "Can we save money? Don't know yet. I think we're looking at it to see what the possibilities are. But if we go digital - totally digital - where you just go on the internet to get it [public notices], I think it would cut the cost considerably."

Mecum did not say Wednesday what sort of reaction he received from local legislators on his proposal to make changes to state law.
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