Local news is the bedrock of America's democracy, holding leaders accountable and keeping residents informed about what's happening in their communities. Without regular, high-quality news coverage, communities see increased government costs. People who are regular news consumers are also more civically engaged than those who don't consume news regularly and are more likely to vote and to donate to causes important to them.

Quality news will not be available if news publishers cannot monetize their content and reinvest in reporting and newsgathering efforts. The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act makes this all possible. The duopoly of Facebook and Google have been chipping away at news publishers' ability to continue to provide the quality news our communities need. Companies such as Facebook and Google routinely profit off news publishers' original content. The duopoly earns 70 percent or more of every advertising dollar spent online, leaving publishers with literal pennies to help pay for news. That imbalance is part of why the news industry has lost more than 28,000 jobs since 2008, and why 1,800 communities have lost their local newpapers since 2004.

The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Bowling Green, signed to support Monday, would grant news publishers a four-year limited antitrust safe harbor to negotiate with the tech platforms for better business terms to support journalism. It would remove government from business negotiations so that news publishers can work together to create needed balance in negotiating with the duopoly.

Through the safe harbor, publishers big and small from Kentucky - and all 50 states - would be able to join together to ask companies such as Google and Facebook for terms that would permit them to continue to provide their communities with the quality journalism they depend on. News publications such as ours would be able to negotiate arrangements with the tech companies on how they use our content and how revenue generated by that content is shared. That would give us what we need most, so we can continue to give you the news you need most.

A small newspaper in Kentucky like the Daily News has absolutely no leverage to negotiate with these mega-giant tech companies. This would be "a David and Goliath battle," in the words of U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., a co-sponsor of this bipartisan legislation along with Democratic presidential candidate and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. The bill also enjoys bipartisan sponsorship in the House.

Without the safe harbor bill, not only will news publishers suffer, but so will our readers. Members of our communities rely on us every day to help keep them informed about what's happening in their world, be it information about the roads they take to get to and from work, news about the local school board, how the local sports teams are faring and updates on state legislation. If news publishers can't afford to pay journalists or continue publishing because they can't get a better deal from the platforms, our readers are the ones who truly lose.

We thank Paul for supporting quality journalism here in Kentucky and across the country, and we encourage the rest of Congress to sign on to the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act and show their support, as well.