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Legislation before the Rhode Island General Assembly would take a swipe at both newspapers and transparency in government — two things that are intrinsically linked. House Bill 6375 and Senate Bill 916 seek to override any state laws that require municipal governments to post notices in print newspapers.

An informal review by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) revealed nearly 200 Rhode Island statutes currently requiring published legal notices. Thus, in nearly 200 instances, state lawmakers deemed the information so important that they required government agencies to actively distribute printed notice to Rhode Island’s citizens, and this practice has continued for many decades.

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Next week’s Independent Newspaper is the final edition before the November election. As such, and in accordance with longstanding editorial policy, we will not run any letters that contain so-called “parting shots,” which are negative attacks on a political candidate which they will be unable to respond to prior to the election.

In addition, all letters must adhere to our standard policy: