The California News Publishers Association Highlights Legislative Priorities and Issues

The California News Publishers Association Highlights Legislative Priorities and Issues

State Board of Equalization Chairperson Malia Cohen (seated) and State Treasurer Fiona Ma address the Capital Conference participant.

Andrea M. Baldrias | Contributor

The new California News Publishers Association president, Paulette Brown-Hinds, aims to bring streamlined advocacy and education about legislative issues that the media industry is facing in 2019.

The mission of the California News Publishers Association is to serve the common interests of its members by promoting, improving and protecting the welfare of the newspaper business and the news media industry in California, which includes printing, publishing and distributing news and information in paper, on the Internet and other digital media.

The importance of an open dialogue between legislators and the media industry lies in the protection of the public’s right to know. It is particularly salient for legislative issues that affect the media industry and the spread of information, to be understood by the public and those who constitute the industry. The 2019 CNPA legislative priorities and issues are as follows:

The first issue is Public Notices. Over the past couple of years there has been legislation against the requirement for public notices to be published in a newspaper of general circulation. Instead, the legislation pushes for posting public notices online only. Public notices inform residents about events relevant to their community. According to the CNPA, posting on a website alone would take away the notice of the independence that protects against possible tampering, political bias or post-deadline posting.

LEGISLATORS AND CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICERS AT CNPA’s CAPITAL CONFERENCE: (Top) Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis gives student reporters an interview, State Senator Mike McGuire moderates “Keeping Californians Safe during Wildfires” panel discussion, Assemblymembers Mike Gipson, Jose Medina, and James Ramos with CNPA President Paulette Brown-Hinds, CNPA’s Legal Counsel Jim Ewert presents inaugural Free Speech Champion Award to Senator Nancy Skinner

The second issue is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The new law was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on June 28, 2018 and becomes effective on January 1, 2020. The CCPA was created to provide consumers with the following rights, and introduces to businesses various compliance issues, especially media companies. These rights are: the right to know what personal information is being collected about them, the right to know whether their personal information is sold or disclosed and to whom, the right to access their personal information, the right to demand that a business no longer sell their personal information, and the right to be free from discrimination if they exercise their privacy rights.

The third issue is Independent Contractors. This issue assesses the independent contractor relationship between newspapers and carriers to address the classification of newspaper carriers as independent contractors or employees. California’s newspaper industry has encountered numerous, significant legal challenges since the early 2000s, including class action litigation.

The fourth issue is Sales Tax on Newspapers. In 1990 Governor Pete Wilson proposed a budget that would help the $8 billion shortfall. The budget was passed to impose a new sales tax on candy and snack foods, bottled water, newspapers and periodicals, and bunker fuel. Since then, the sales tax has been lifted on candy, snacks and water bottles, however the tax remains on subscription and single copy sales of daily newspapers. The CNPA aims to sponsor legislation to repeal the discriminatory tax on subscription and single copy sales of daily newspapers.

The final issue is Strengthening and Protecting The Public’s Right to Know. Under this, the CNPA will focus on the following: reversing costs associated with requesting information via California Public Records Act which are an obstacle to accessing public records, and protecting access to records related to police misconduct.


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