Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Beverly Hills Bill

Next thing you know, Sen. Cecil Staton will be sponsoring a bill to install a "cement pond" right on the Capitol lawn, especially if the pool company is from anywhere other than Georgia and has made a generous contribution to his campaign. He has once again proven that Georgia Republicans are great at saying one thing while doing another. They're all about local control-except for schools and taxes. And, they're all about small government-except for plans to create a tax structure that promises years of gainful employment for a brand new generation of revenuers.

Now, Sen. Cecil Staton (Mr. Voter ID himself) is leading the charge to significantly expand the role of the Secretary of State's office to include responsibility for the posting of legal notices on the web. Except, in addition to being in your hometown newspaper, the notices are already posted on the web-right here. But never mind that minor detail. Staton and other sponsors of SB391 are hoping to hand the contract for the new web-based service to Global Notice a company based in wait for it, wait for it: Beverly Hills, California. Of course, the company had to be from California because obviously no one is Georgia has the capacity to offer such a service-expect they already do. The Beverly Hills based company will keep 90% of the profits while returning 10% to local communities. Generous, don't you think? Now, those fees are paid to local newspapers by attorneys and others required to post notices in the official legal organ of a local community. I'd say that this bill is a not-so-thinly-veiled smack at Rep. DuBose Porter who owns several papers in rural Georgia if the truth were not a bit plainer. Global Notice has made $1,000 campaign contributions to both Staton and Rogers, two of the sponsors of the legislation. Here's part of what Charles Richardson with the Telegraph had to say:
Here's the deal. This bill is designed to shift payments from newspapers to another private company. That company would take 90 percent of the profits and put them the bank. The other 10 percent would be remitted back to counties and municipalities. Instead of dealing with local folks they know and trust, a phantom company comes along, not to make a better mousetrap, but to steal one, courtesy of our big government lawmakers.Why would they want to push this through? It's simple. They are doing the bidding for a company out of Beverly Hills, Calif., called Global Notice that is in the business of providing Web sites for official postings. Being a company lackey in the General Assembly has become quite lucrative. Staton and Rogers have each received $1,000 contributions from Global Notice. All Sen. Heath received was a cheap dinner at Agave. Far be it from us to suggest a quid pro quo arrangement, but any other explanation defies logic. Make up your minds for yourselves.

I have but one question left: Will the Beverly Hills company have to collect Glenn's sales tax on their services?

1 comment:

Vic said...

Historic Posterity Post. Congrats Amy, you helped Cecil win an award:

Stay Curious...

News & Views: Golden Sleaze Awards
The 19th Annual Golden Sleaze Awards
Creative Loafing
Published 04.02.08
By Thomas Wheatley and Scott Henry

The E-commerce and E-campaign Contributions Award

Sen. Cecil Staton, R-Macon, and Sen. Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock: You have to wonder whether Staton was trying to grease a deal or commit political hari-kari when he proposed the state set up a website for legal ads.

The notices for such actions as foreclosures and public property sales have long been the bread and butter of community newspapers.

Blogger Amy Morton got curious about his bill, co-sponsored by chambermate Rogers, to take the lion's share of that business from the papers.

Never mind that not everyone's online quite yet. But who contributed $1,000 to each man's campaign?

Why, a California-based company steeped in managing such Internet sites did!

No telling what business interest inspired Staton to propose another piece of legislation

– a resolution urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency not to tighten up the nation's air quality standards.