PHOENIX — Saying it will promote economic development, a House committee voted 7-2 Thursday to eliminate the requirement for many new businesses to publish legal notices.

HB 2447 requires the Arizona Corporation Commission to set up a special website where new firms can “publish” their articles of incorporation and similar documents. More to the point, doing that would override the current law that says these notices must be published three times in a commercial newspaper in the county where the company does business.

At this point, the legislation would affect only companies setting up shop in the two largest counties.

That is designed to address concerns that residents of some rural areas might not have the same access to the Internet to look up these records. Potentially more significant, similar measure have been beaten back in prior years when rural lawmakers have responded to complaints from local publishers that the loss of the revenues could damage or even kill their publications.

But once the commission sets up the new website it could make it easier for lawmakers to repeal publication requirements for businesses set up outside Maricopa and Pima counties.

“We are trying to make sure that we make things as easy as possible for anybody that wants to start a business here in Arizona,” said House Majority Leader Steve Montenegro, R-Litchfield Park, sponsor of the legislation.

Scot Mussi of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club told members of the House Committee on Government and Higher Education the time is long past for Arizona to require new companies to pay to publish notices of incorporation.

“Most other states have moved away from a requirement of posting notification in a newspaper like this when they start up a company,” he said. “In fact were the only Western state that has a specific requirement for a startup like this.”

Scrapping the law, said Mussi, will “reduce costs and burdens on small business.”

The vote came over objections from publishers who would be affected.

The measure now needs a vote by the House before going to the Senate.

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