Ohio - Judge Rules That Free Newspapers Can Compete to Publish Legal Notices

A Common Pleas judge in Ohio has ruled that a free newspaper can publish legal notices in Darke County, Ohio. The Ohio statute, unlike most other states does not require explicitly that paid circulation publications are the only vehicle for public notices.  The statute was changed in 2011. The next step will be to allow online publications which have more readers and would lower costs for municipalities nationwide, the right to compete as well. Newspaper trade associations have lobbied successfully to keep notices in print.

RHODE ISLAND - Governor Chafee's Proposed Budget Assumes End of Newspaper Legal Notice Requirement

The Providence Journal reports that Governor Chafee's proposed budget contemplates the enactment of Article 22, "The Modernization of Legal Notices and Advertisements" . Article 22 would replace the requirement to publish notices in newspapers with the ability to post those notices online. Newspaper publishers across the state predictably oppose the measure to save cash-strapped municpalities, school districts, counties and the state money. We estimate, extrapolating from reported spend in other states, public notices cost $3.4 million in Rhode Island.

TEXAS-Galveston County Commissioner: "No one is Reading the (Public) Notices" in Local Newspaper. Rebidding on Projects Required

A request for bids notice published in the Galveston County Daily News yielded so few bids that  Galveston (TX) County Commissioner Ryan Dennard blasted the whole notion of having to advertise in the newspaper, reported the Daily News . Dennard noted that the lack of bids forces them to re-bid and adds expense and time to county-wide projects. There does however appear to be some friction between the newspaper and Dennard as Daily News mentioned that County recently pulled the contract to publish public notices out of the Daily News and placed them in The Post of Galveston County.

WYOMING - Are Newspapers Crazy to Collaborate on Bills to Reduce Legal Notices in Print? Crazy Like a Fox.

State press associations, if you read this blog, would rather block legislation to move notices online even if it saves the taxpayers' money so as to continue to reap revenue from printed public notices 

MICHIGAN - City of Novi Proposes Referendum To Allow Legal Notices to Be Published Online

The Michigan Press Association Bulletin reported on October 3 that the city of Novi, Michigan intends to let their citizens vote via public referendum in November as to whether to publish public notices on their website as opposed to in newspapers.

A municipality putting to the public a change to more responsibly spend the taxpayers' money might be applauded by an association of newspapers. 

COLORADO - Steamboat Springs Planning Commission Proposes to Reduce Public Notices Published in Newspapers

Steamboat Springs Colorado's Planning Commission is proposing to reduce the number of types of projects that require publishing public notices in printed newspapers. Steamboat Today noted in an editorial October 2 that at present 19 types of projects require published notices in print and the proposal is for that to be limited to 6.

Colorado has been one of the most pro-active states in attempting to save taxpayers the expense of publishing notices in print by allowing public notices to be published online.

AUSTRALIA - New Queensland Law Allows Online Notice Publication of Changes to Council Policy Without Publishing In Newspapers

Today's (September 6, 2013) Queensland News and Fraser Coast Chronicle which circulate in Queensland Australia includes an article revealing a change in public notice requirements worth reading. Under changes to the State Government Act, if a council (the equivalent of a county in the U.S.) makes changes in policy/legislation with relation to councillor and mayor reimbursements, they no longer have to place a public notice in the local newspaper. According to the article, local Government Minister David Crisafulli said the changes were to save money. He also said Councils are allowed to publish in newspapers if they want but aren;t required to as long as they post them on their websites. 

WYOMING-Newspapers Acquiesce To Two Bills Which Could Move More Legal Notices Online. Have They Lost Their Influence? published an item mentioning that two bills had been proposed which would slightly reduce the frequency of legal notices. While the newspaper industry in Wyoming is not wild about such a change it seems that they understand that a small hit in revenue is better than what is coming eventually - which is notices leaving print altogether. 

The first bill according to the website for the Wyoming TribuneEagle would allow counties to publish their budget statements once per year , down from twice. 

Another small change somewhat reduces the frequency of publishing Names, Positions and Salaries of county employees.

NY State Assembly Allows Bills To Be Published Electronically. Legal Notices Remain in Print

The New York Times published a cute story about how it will no longer be required to print proposed legislation on paper. According to the Times story, up until now an obscure provision required that proposed laws be printed and  "upon the desks of members" for three days prior to a vote on that bill. According to the Times, the bill was first proposed in 1997 and was only passed this year. Thanks to Rep. Sandra Galef who thought then that the 19 million sheets of paper printed every two years might be wasteful. 

Letter to The Editor: California Legal Notice Advertiser Explains "Abusive" Newspaper Advertising Pricing Strategy.

To The Editor:
I publish legal trustee sale notices throughout the State of California, every ad is almost identical. I’ve seen publication costs throughout the state increase from approximately $300-$500 dollars to over $2,000 in many cases.
Perhaps some of that increase is due to the longer notices required, or inflation? But the increases have vaired substantially from paper to paper. I had recent sales in Butte County for which publication charges ran in the $2,000-$2,200 range. This is “normal” for Butte. But when I ran a set of publications in Hemet, Riverside county, the paper down there charged $950. In San Bernardino it was $520?

Legal Notice Roundup- Florida, Connecticut, Texas, Tennessee

Here is a brief legal notice legislative roundup:

Connecticut Newspapers have begun a concerted lobbying effort to fight a bill being considered by the Connecticut House of Representatives that would give towns the abilities to post public notices on their own websites, reports the Associated Press.

California Legal Notice Bill Gets It Right. AB 642 Allows Online News Organizations To Compete To Publish Notices

California Assemblyman Anthony Rendon may be new to his position, but he could teach a lot to , more experienced legislators about proposing an online public notice bill that makes sense. If the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, then there are quite a few crazy legislators. For the past three years as we have covered over 40 proposed online public notice bills, virtually all of them have proposed to let the local government take over the publishing of notices. Each time the newspaper lobby alleges that there should be an independent third party to publish notices; and succeeds in killing the bill.

In Arizona, House Passed Bill Which Will Limit Notices In Print AND Defeated Another Legal Notice Bill

The State House in Arizona advanced HB 2533 which would allow local governments to post legal notices on their own websites reported the Tucson Sentinel. The planned bill passed 31-27 on reconsideration on Monday, March 17 after failing on the previous Thursday.

ARIZONA Legislator's Proposal Offers A Novel Solution to Legal Notice Publishing

Why are local politicians allowed to choose the "paper of record" which often has very low circulation? In California why aren't all public notices in the Los Angeles Times, the largest circulated newspaper in the state?  Instead they are posted in a little-read newspaper called The Daily Journal which only lawyers read.

TENNESSEE-Dumbest Legal Notice Bill Yet. Newspapers Must Post Notices Online. Saves No Taxpayer Money and Mandates Nothing New.

We've been covering legal notice bills for over 2 years and thought we've seen every possible bill proposed. The State Senate of Tennessee further wasted legislators' time and taxpayers' money by approving Senate Bill 461, sponsored by State Senator Ken Yager which changes absolutely nothing. There are no savings for the cash-strapped municipalities because the newspapers continue to charge outrageous rates for print notices in newspapers with dwindling circulations.

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