Ray Rodrigues tackles newspaper notices, voting rights restitution with single bill

Florida lawmakers for years discussed whether to keep requiring notices in print media. The Legislature also still must deal with creating a system so felons know their financial obligations to have votes restored.

Sen. Ray Rodrigues wants to tackle both issues with a single piece of legislation.

The Estero Republican filed a bill (SB 402) that would set up an alternative method for governments to inform the public of meetings while establishing a funding source for a statewide database of financial commitments.

As a member of the House, Rodrigues previously backed efforts to do away with the requirements for legal notices to appear in newspapers. “I’m not in favor of creating a monopoly for legacy print media,” he said. “This is a requirement many believe has outlived its usefulness.”

Rodrigues now sits in the Senate, which hasn’t warmed to the idea of stripping community newspapers of a reliable source of income. As the freshman Senator considered how to find traction for the idea in the upper chamber, he looked at connecting it to another problem facing lawmakers.

The Legislature two years ago controversially passed a bill implementing a voter-approved constitutional amendment restoring voting rights for

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