When a government agency is going to hold a meeting or hearing, California law requires they announce it in the newspaper, even though most constituents looking for their news in places other than the classified section.


A proposed state law championed by Hesperia City Councilman Thurston "Smitty" Smith aims to change that.


"Facebook, the Internet, emails," Smith ticked off a list of alternative ways of reaching residents. "The city has that reverse 911 (phone) system."


Although Victor Valley communities have one or more newspapers to call their own, many smaller, more isolated communities have none and government agencies are required to post ads in a newspaper in a neighboring county.


At the 2011 League of California Cities conference in September, Smith, vice president of the league's Mountain Desert Division, championed a resolution put forth by division president Bill Jahn, the mayor of Big Bear.


"I got all of us from the Mountain Desert Division to show up to the (league's) resolution committee," Smith SAID. "It had full support."


The goal of the proposed bill, he said, was to "save the cities money from a 100-year-old law."


In the 2010-11 fiscal year, the city of Hesperia spent a total of $3,546.99 on legal notices for meeting announcements, out of a budgeted $6,200 for that purpose.


"It's to save us money and there's newer technology that we use every day," Smith said. "We're in a crunch and trying to save money."


A committee with the league approved the resolution to advocate for revisions to California government code. The league will present the resolution to legislators in the 2012 legislative session.


A similar bill was passed by the Assembly in 2009, but was defeated in the Senate.