Open Government Seminar series heads to Houston

The 2018 series of regional Open Government Seminars continues May 1 in Houston.
The free seminars are hosted by the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, in cooperation with the Texas Attorney General’s Office. The one-day seminars are designed for government employees, journalists, attorneys and anyone interested in the Texas Public Information Act and Texas Open Meetings Act. The first session was held at the University of Texas at Arlington.

President orders task force to study USPS finances, operations

President Trump signed an executive order April 12 creating a task force to study the financial difficulties of the US Postal Service and recommend restructuring the agency.
Most news reports indicate the move was prompted by the President's assertion that online retailer Amazon's deal for low shipping rates is hurting the postal service financially. 

Newsprint tariffs and why you should care

In 1787 Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to Edward Carrington, whom he had sent as a delegate to the Continental Congress. In the letter, Jefferson stressed the importance of a free press, specifically newspapers.
Jefferson understood that one of the most important checks on government power was a well-informed electorate. 

By Randy Keck, publisher,  The Community News, Aledo

Community newspapers fear newsprint tariffs will put some of them out of business

WASHINGTON—Rural newspaper publishers from all over the country came to Washington in March to plead their case against new tariffs that will increase the cost of newsprint—still a key cost for newspapers, which depend on print advertising even as they try to increase their digital revenue.

By Al Cross
Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues

TPA joins effort to STOPP duties on imported paper

The Texas Press Association has joined a new coalition fighting proposed countervailing duties and anti-dumping duties on imports of Canadian uncoated ground wood papers, including newsprint and other papers.
The coalition, Stop Tariffs on Printers & Publishers (STOPP), is comprised of members of the printing, publishing and paper-producing industries, which employ more than 600,000 workers.

Sunshine Coalition forms to promote open government in Texas

As part of the celebration of Sunshine Month in March, several Texas organizations joined forces to promote government in the sunshine.
The Texas Sunshine Coalition includes the Texas Press Association, the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Public Citizen, the Texas Association of Broadcasters and other organizations. The new coalition’s website is and social media channels are in development.

DOC adds heavy tariffs on North American paper supply

A second blow against community newspapers was announced this week by the U S Department of Commerce in the form of heavy tariffs on the North American paper supply.
A preliminary decision in an anti-dumping case brought last summer by northwestern US producer NORPAC came from the Department on March 13. Commerce said it was ordering duties up to 22.16 percent on Canadian newsprint production, to be added to the January assessments of 4.4 to 9 percent from a related case on countervailing subsidies.  

Newsprint tariff at the discretion of DOC

WASHINGTON — The Department of Commerce can legally use its discretion to mitigate the impact of proposed tariffs on newsprint so that job loss from a proposed set of duties on Canadian paper is minimized, a group of publishing organizations told the DOC in February.