Editorial: New House bill would prohibit unsolicited newspaper delivery

If House Bill №685 becomes law, you won’t read this newspaper anymore.

Hard-working people will lose their jobs. Small business owners will suffer. Communities will see a part of their identity vanish overnight. House Bill №685 would prohibit the unsolicited delivery of newspapers in Philadelphia. It also would create a ripple effect that bill proponents callously ignore.

Many of your friends and neighbors work at these newspapers writing stories, selling advertisements, designing artwork, delivering the papers, etc. Many of your friends and neighbors indirectly depend on these newspapers for employment, from the agent who handles the newspaper’s insurance to the waitress who serves hungry reporters at the local diner. House Bill №685 would kill these jobs and more as money disappears from many segments of the local economy.

The carnage doesn’t end there. Small business owners rely on these newspapers for effective and affordable marketing plans that bring customers through their doors. A small business can target residents in its neighborhood, offer a coupon or sale, and increase business — all without busting the budget. If passed, House Bill №685 takes away this valuable tool, making it even more difficult for a family to establish and grow their business.

Beyond the negative economic impact and financial hardship House Bill №685 would thrust upon thousands of Philadelphians, the bill aims to kill institutions that have served residents for decades. These newspapers hold government responsible for its actions and offer a voice to many who feel powerless. Some people lack the financial means to regularly purchase paid publications or buy a computer. Still others lack the skills to uncover news and information on the internet. These newspapers are the only connection for many, especially the poor and elderly, to their government and community.

The newspapers House Bill №685 would kill aren’t faceless, corporate chain stores in a mall. Generations of Philadelphians have celebrated their children’s triumphs, mourned the loss of beloved individuals and gained a greater sense of community through their pages. These newspapers are the history books of the neighborhoods that collectively make Philadelphia the city it is. They are living, breathing contributors to their communities and vital pieces of this city’s fabric.

Tell your legislators to stand up for jobs, give small business owners the tools they need to thrive and leave your newspaper alone. Tell them to reject House Bill №685. ••