Of Record 2012

October 2012

Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS)

Nevada
On September 27, 2012, the Nevada Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion that MERS is the proper beneficiary, and that once the foreclosing lender obtains an assignment from MERS, the lender can proceed to Nevada’s Foreclosure Mediation Program. Prior to this ruling, many foreclosures were placed on hold.  Edelstein v. Bank of New York Mellon

Oregon
In July, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that lenders could not use MERS to skirt state law requiring that all mortgage sales be recorded in county offices before launching out-of-court foreclosures.  Mortgages that have been assigned without properly recording its transfer prohibit the non-recorded parties from foreclosing.  This ruling stalled MERS-related non-judicial foreclosures.  Currently, the Oregon Supreme Court is considering whether MERS can be a beneficiary under Oregon law.

Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act
On February 6, 2012, the American Bar Association endorsed a proposed uniform law aiming at new standards for state government websites that host legal materials. The Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act (UELMA) is proposed by the Uniform Laws Commission because some states are abandoning the public printings of statutes, regulations and case law.  There were six states that considered the UELMA, which would have provided for the official designation, authentication, and preservation of certain legal material in electronic records by an official publisher.


UELMA Legislative Wrap-Up
California – SB 1075
Enacted

Colorado – HB 12-1209
Enacted

Connecticut – SB 418
Died on Adjournment

Minnesota – HF 2527
House Civil Law (Could be revived in 2013)

Rhode Island – HB 7750
House Judiciary (Could be revived in 2013)

Tennessee – HB 3656 / SB 2894
Senate Judiciary (Could be revived in 2013)

 

Ohio
The Ohio Newspaper Association will use Cox Media Group Ohio to be its sales agent for public notice.
Press Release from ONA

State Legislation
Please visit PNRC’s website for a complete list of the 2012 public notice bills.
http://www.pnrc.net/subscriber-resources/state-legislative-chart/

California – SB 1075
Committee on Rules. Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act.  Existing law establishes the Legislative Counsel Bureau and provides that the chief of the bureau is the Legislative Counsel. Existing law requires the Legislative Counsel, with the advice of the Assembly Committee on Rules and the Senate Committee on Rules, to make specified legislative materials, bills, codes, and statutes available to the public in electronic form. This bill would enact the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act, which would provide for the official designation, authentication, and preservation of certain legal material in electronic records by an official publisher. The bill would designate the Legislative Counsel Bureau as the official publisher for purposes of the act and would make the act operative on July 1, 2015. 9/12/12 Approved by the Governor

Ohio – HB 247
Self-service storage law. After the expiration of the time given in the notice, an advertisement of the sale shall be published once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the self-service storage facility is located or any other commercially reasonable manner. (Emphasis added) The manner of advertisement shall be deemed commercially reasonable if at least three independent bidders attend the sale at the time and place advertised. 6/12/12 Judiciary Committee

States In Session
California                    (Adjourn 11/30/12)
Michigan                     (Adjourn 12/31/12)
New Jersey                  (Adjourn 12/31/12)
New York                   (Adjourn 12/31/12)
Ohio                            (Adjourn 12/31/12)
Pennsylvania               (Adjourn 11/30/12)

News
PNRC categorizes public notice news articles into the public notice elements (independent, archivable, accessible, and verifiable).

Accessible
A Project of the George Washington University, 20 Percent of American Households Still Offline (10.30.12)
Dawson Sentinel, These Times (10.3.12)
(Dave Hickey discusses the myth that websites are going to replace newspapers.  Hickey believes that local governments are trying to push this myth by advocating for posting notices on local government websites instead of supporting community newspapers.)
Courier Press, Pence says he would centralize public meeting notices in Indiana (10.30.12) (Pence is a candidate for governor and he wants one centralized website for government meeting notices.  Currently, the notices are posted on multiple government websites.)

 

SPECIAL OF RECORD – September 2012

As expected the federal government is continuing its course in removing public notice from newspapers and placing them on federal websites. The Department of Justice rejected the joint comment letter of PNRC, NNA, NAA and ACCN, and found that its own website is preferable to newspapers. The response does nothing to address the low level of public awareness of the government’s website, but instead blithely assumes people all over the world will find it.  We disagree with its findings, of course. We will be monitoring caselaw to see how the courts treat it.   Final Rule 2012-21943

 

September 2012

State Courts

Ohio
On September 6, 2012, the Ohio Supreme Court held that when the address of a party with a property interest in a sheriff’s sale proceeding is known, a county sheriff cannot meet his constitutional obligation to provide notice by sending a letter to the party’s attorney directing the attorney to monitor the sheriff’s website for a listing of the date, time and location of the sale.

PNRC’s comment: if publishing notice on a government website isn’t good enough to reach one person, how can it be good enough to reach thousands? Fortunately, the state requires newspaper publication.

Under Ohio Stat. § 2329.27(A), requires the officer taking lands and tenements in execution to give public notice of the date, time, and place of the sale of the lands and tenements for at least three weeks before the day of sale by advertisement in a newspaper published in and of general circulation in the county.

PHH Mtge. Corp. v. Prater, Slip Opinion No. 2012-Ohio-3931.

CNO, Positing Details of Sheriff’s Sale on Website Does Not Give Required Notice of Sale to Party With Interest in Foreclosed Property, (9.6.12)

 
Tennessee
Fisher v. Rutherford
On May 29, 2012, a Rutherford County judge ruled that a County Regional Planning Commission meeting held on May 24, 2010, to discuss the construction plans for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro was void due to insufficient public notice.  The judge concluded that county approval of the mosque was subject to a heightened legal standard when compared with other houses of worship, due to the “tremendous public interest” surrounding the mosque. Although the construction of the mosque was completed and it only lacked an inspection to open, the judge ruled that the mosque could not open.   Currently, there is an appeal pending in the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

On July 18, 2012, however, Judge Campbell, a federal judge, ruled that Rutherford County must allow the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro to complete the inspection process so it could use its building for Ramadan.    Judge Campbell’s Order (July 18, 2012)

The case is still pending.

Washington
On August 16, 2012, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, commonly known as MERS, lacked authority to start non-judicial foreclosures because it is not a lawful beneficiary with the authority to appoint trustees.  Therefore, MERS-related non-judicial foreclosures are stalled. Bain v. Metro. Mortg. Grp., Inc.
Oregon Live, Washington’s highest court rules MERS cannot foreclosure on homeowners (8.16.12)

Oregon
In July, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that lenders could not use MERS to skirt state law requiring that all mortgage sales be recorded in county offices before launching out-of-court foreclosures.  Mortgages that have been assigned without properly recording its transfer prohibit the non-recorded parties from foreclosing.  This ruling stalled MERS-related non-judicial foreclosures.  Currently, the Oregon Supreme Court is considering whether MERS can be a beneficiary under Oregon law.

Congress

Expanding Broadband
On July 18, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business held a hearing on the federal government’s efforts to become more involved in the deployment of broadband with the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  The Federal Communications Commission estimates that 97 percent of small businesses use some form of broadband applications to strengthen their operations.   A recent survey by the Office of the Chief Counsel for Advocacy at the United States Small Business Administration showed almost half of rural businesses and more than one-third of urban businesses are not satisfied with their current Internet speed.

Julius Genachowski, chairman of the FCC, testified about the progress on broadband in the past three years and the problems.

  • A vast majority of Americans live in areas with broadband infrastructure capable of delivering 100+ megabits per second. However, nearly 18 million Americans—including many small business owners—live in areas where they cannot get broadband.
  • Nearly 100 million Americans still have not adopted broadband at home.
  • The United States leads the world in 3G subscribers, and it is leading the world in             deploying 4G mobile broadband.
  • The apps economy continues to grow, and U.S. firms and developers continue to lead the way.
  • The percentage of smartphones globally with U.S. operating systems has grown from        25% to more than 80%.

These statistics show that there continues to be a digital divide between rural and urban communities.  With some states pushing for changes on how public notice is delivered, these statistics are a reminder that not everyone has access to the Internet and that public notice in newspapers is important to reaching rural communities.

PNRC Website
PNRC continues to improve its website to include resources and information on public notice issues. More attorneys general opinions and case law are being added weekly.  If you believe we should add additional categories or need specialized research on other public notice issues, please let us know. Research requests are received from subscribing partners only.
Placher, David, Publishers’ Auxiliary, PNRC updates requirements for government bid notices (9.2012)


State Legislation

Please visit PNRC’s website for a complete list of the 2012 public notice bills.
http://www.pnrc.net/subscriber-resources/state-legislative-chart/

California – SB 1075
Committee on Rules. Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act.  Existing law establishes the Legislative Counsel Bureau and provides that the chief of the bureau is the Legislative Counsel. Existing law requires the Legislative Counsel, with the advice of the Assembly Committee on Rules and the Senate Committee on Rules, to make specified legislative materials, bills, codes, and statutes available to the public in electronic form. This bill would enact the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act, which would provide for the official designation, authentication, and preservation of certain legal material in electronic records by an official publisher. The bill would designate the Legislative Counsel Bureau as the official publisher for purposes of the act and would make the act operative on July 1, 2015.
8/31/12 Enrolled and presented to the Governor at  7:30 p.m.

South Dakota
The South Dakota Legislative Committee on rules review declined to hold a hearing on Wednesday, September 12, to discuss a proposed three percent increase for legal notices.
Editor & Publisher, South Dakota Newspapers Bow Out of Fight for 3 Percent Hike for Legal Notices (9.11.12)

States In Session
California                    (Adjourn 11/30/12)
Michigan                     (Adjourn 12/31/12)
New Jersey                  (Adjourn 12/31/12)
New York                   (Adjourn 12/31/12)
Ohio                            (Adjourn 12/31/12)
Pennsylvania               (Adjourn 11/30/12)

News
PNRC categorizes public notice news articles into the public notice elements (independent, archivable, accessible, and verifiable).

Accessible and Archivable
Missourian, Ravalli County Commission settles lawsuit over public meeting notices (9.5.12)
NWI, Editorial: Put public notices where people will find them (8.16.12)
The Garden Island, Changes to public notice law may impact community (8.10.12)
Lassen County Times, State ends portions of Brown Act (7.24.12)
MSNBC.com, Tennessee county loses battle over newly built mosque (7.19.12)
NOLA. Defender, Times Picayune Loses Legal Notices for Civil District Court (7.10.12)
DNI.com, Planning Commission may reapprove mosque after adequate notice (7.9.12)

 

July 2012

State News

California
In Modesto, Calif., Gloriette Genereux, Modesto’s director of finance, proposed to amend Section 8-3.203 of Article 2 of Chapter 3 of the Modesto Municipal Code relating to Central Purchasing –Formal Bid Procedure that requires the city to announce bid openings or requests for work in newspapers and replace it with Internet posts only.  On June 26, the Modesto City Council voted to approve this amendment by 5/2.
The Modesto Bee, Plan would keep public notices from public vision (6.25.12)

Florida
On July 31, 2012, HB 937 took effect.   It requires that if a legal notice is published in a newspaper, the newspaper publishing the notice shall also place the notice on a website maintained by the newspaper; revising physical requirements for proof of publication affidavits; authorizing electronic affidavits that meet specified requirements; limiting the rate that may be charged for government notices required to be published more than once in certain circumstances; and requiring that website publication of certain legal notices include maps that appear in the newspaper advertisements.

Oregon
Last year, on June 17, 2011, SB 740 was signed into law covering the sale of real property ordered by a judge. When a judge orders real property sold, the county sheriff’s offices assist in that sale by holding an auction.  Up until last year, public notice covering real property was required to be published in a newspaper.  However, SB 740 changed that.  There is an option (the phrase “In lieu of” is used) to publish on a website instead of in a newspaper.  Please note, however, the judgment creditor has to request to the sheriff that the notice be published by Internet posting in the instructions to the sheriff.
Statesman Journal, Website to list legal notices for sales (6.13.12)

North Dakota
Beginning with the 1996 biennial municipal elections, and every four years thereafter, all cities in North Dakota, regardless of their form of government, must put on the ballot the question of whether the minutes of its governing body shall be published in its official newspaper.  On June 12, 2012, residents of North Dakota had its quadrennial vote and that almost all cities voted to retain newspaper publication of city government minutes of meetings. With 93,823 voting yes, and 19,102 voting no, a vast majority of cities will continue to print its minutes in newspapers.   Only 12 cities with vary small populations voted no.
http://www.pnrc.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/North-Dakota2.pdf

Wyoming
The Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Corporations, Elections, and Political Subdivision Interim Committee are reviewing the state’s laws requiring governments to publish certain legal notices in newspapers.  The Committee voted to ask the Wyoming Press Association to meet with the Wyoming Association of Municipalities, the Wyoming County Commissioners Association and state agencies to see if changes to the public notice laws could occur to reduce costs.
Wyoming News.com, Lawmakers look at legal notice requirements (7.6.12)
Wyoming Tribune News, Legal ads should be in papers (7.3.12)
County 10, County 10 Viewpoint Legal Notices are a Legislated Monopoly for Wyoming Newspapers (6.29.12)

PNRC Website
PNRC continues to improve its website to include resources and information of an unparalleled depth and breadth on public notice issues.  We have updated the newspaper eligibility section to include 2012 legislative changes. If you believe we should add additional categories or would like us to research other public notice issues, please let us know. Please visit www.pnrc.net

 State Legislation

Public Notice Bills
We have a legislative chart that lists key 2012 public notice bills.
http://www.pnrc.net/subscriber-resources/state-legislative-chart/

Recent Activity

California – SB 12 (Amended to reinstate public notice in newspapers for alcohol and tobacco transactions)
Repeals Division 6 of the California Commercial Code and re-enacts selected provisions of the former law that, as modified, will apply only to transactions by certain distributors licensed under alcohol and tobacco control laws.   Specifically, the tax-related provisions of this bill   require a buyer in a bulk sale to provide advanced notice of the sale. At least 12 business days before the date of the sale, the buyer must publish the notice at least once in a newspaper of general circulation

Since the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State laws and the American Law Institute’s landmark 1989 study recommending repeal of bulk sales laws, 47 other states have repealed their bulk sales laws.  California remains only one of three states, in addition to the District of Columbia, to retain it.  At the state level, the Uniform Law Commission and the Uniform Commercial Code Committee of the Business Law Section of the State Bar have both officially renewed their calls to repeal the bulk sales law in California.

Senator Corbett, the sponsor of this bill, states that Article 6, relating to bulk sales, as originally enacted and subsequently revised in California, is obsolete. The sponsor asserts that the Bulk Sales Law has been superseded by other laws, such as Article 9, that offer better protection of creditors and should be repealed in order to bring the California Commercial Code into conformity with the UCC throughout the country.

The opponents of this bill state that in the statutory process prescribed in the existing bulk sales law, tax agencies are afforded the opportunity to be paid from the gross sales proceeds available in the transaction, with priority granted to federal, state and local tax agencies ahead of all other creditors.  Opponents contend that millions of dollars are collected for state agencies from bulk sale transactions.  Opponents also argue that, while proponents suggested that creditors could utilize Division 9 of the California Commercial Code to obtain secured creditor status, creditor’s post-sale recourse would be limited to actions brought in over-burdened courts where civil matters are expected to take increasingly longer to adjudicate.  Finally, the opponents point out that existing regulations provide for successor liability for business obligations and it is unclear how those requirements would be met in the absence of a bulk sales law.
07/05/2012 ASM Revenue and Taxation

AB 1465
Existing law requires public notice of a project under the State Contract Act to be given by publication in a newspaper or trade paper of general circulation, as specified. This bill would authorize the Department of Transportation to alternatively meet the public notice requirement through electronic publication on the Department’s website.
Filed with Secretary of State June 27, 2012
The Times- Standard, More than money (6.30.12)
MSNBC.com, Bill lets Caltrans skip newspaper notice (6.21.12)

Louisiana – HB 1144 (Passed)
To amend public notice required by law; to provide for public notice of judicial interest; to provide for public notice in certain judicial proceedings; to provide for public notice in proceedings involving property; and to provide for related matters. The new law erased a requirement that legal notices be published in a daily newspaper. Now, the notices are required only to run in newspapers with a circulation of more than 30,000.
6/14/2012 Signed by the Governor ACT 825
NOLA. Defender, Times Picayune Loses Legal Notices for Civil District Court (7.10.12)

HB 580
Requires a public body which has an official website to give notice of a meeting via its official website in addition to posting a notice at its principal office or where the meeting is held or publication in the official journal.
6/12/2012 Signed by the Governor

New York – A8075
Allows for additional online publication of public notices by counties, municipalities and school districts.
05/31/2011 referred to governmental operations

Rhode Island – HB 7047
An Act relating to the town of north Providence a regular or special meeting is to be held elsewhere, notice posted electronically instead of in a newspaper.
05/30/2012 Signed by Governor

States In Session
California                    (Adjourn 11/30/12)
Massachusetts             (Adjourn 7/31/12)
Michigan                     (Adjourn 12/31/12)
New Jersey                  (Adjourn 12/31/12)
New York                   (Adjourn 12/31/12)
Ohio                            (Adjourn 12/31/12)
Pennsylvania               (Adjourn 11/30/12)

News
PNRC will be categorizing public notice news articles into the public notice elements (independent, archivable, accessible, and verifiable).
Accessible: A public notice is capable of being accessed by all segments of society.

New Hampshire
Foster’s Daily Democrat, So where are we headed in this ever changing world of print (6.18.12)

New York
Register-Star, Advance notice (6.26.12)

Tennessee
DNI.com, Planning Commission may reapprove mosque after adequate notice (7.9.12)
MSNBC.com, Murfreesboro judge will not let mosque open (7.2.12)
WKU Public Radio, County Commission Appeal Latest Chapter in Ten (6.15.12)
AL Arabiya, US Islamic Center says it was singled out (6.12.12)
Knoxnews.com, Transparency groups see problems in mosque ruling (6.10.12)
MSNBC.com, Murfreesboro mosque foes seek to stop construction (6.8.12)

Independent: A public notice is published in a forum independent of the government, typically in a local newspaper.

 

Verifiable: The public and the source of the notice are able to verify that the notice was published, usually by an affidavit provided by the publisher.  

Maine
Portland Press Herald, Falmouth looking into breach of town website (6.21.12)

Archivable: A public notice is archived in a secure and publicly available format.

Maryland
Explore Howard.com, Council approves comprehensive rezoning process changes (7.2.12)
Baltimore Sun, Haunted by Comp Lite battles, Ulman proposes changes to rezoning process (6.13.12)

June 2012

Welcome New PNRC Subscriber
We’re pleased to announce that PNRC has added another new subscriber. Currently, PNRC has 40 subscribers and looks forward to adding more in 2012. Welcome and thanks to the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association.

States

Tennessee
On May 25, Judge Robert Corlew ruled that the Rutherford County Planning Commission didn’t give the public adequate notice before the meeting where the construction of a mosque was approved.  State law requires that local governments provide “adequate public notice” for meetings without defining what is adequate.  The meeting notice was published in the Murfreesboro Post, a free weekly newspaper that had a circulation of about 21,000 at the time the legal notice was published, and had greater circulation in the mosque area than other publications. Tennessee does not require paid circulation for legal newspapers. But witnesses testified they did not see the notice. The judge did not articulate what notice was required and declined to rule on whether the Post was a qualified publication. But because of the controversy surrounding the mosque, he said, the planning commission was required to do more to notify the public.

An appeal on the ruling has been announced. The case is being followed closely by Tennessee Press Association and affected publishers.

http://www.pnrc.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/DN1899725291.pdf

MSNBC.com, Murfreesboro mosque foes seek to stop construction (6.8.12)
Knoxnews.com, Judge ruling in mosque case creates confusion (6.4.12)
Washington Post, Judge ruling stops construction of Tennessee mosque finding public didn’t get enough notice (5.29.12)
NewsChannel 5, Judge Says Murfreesboro Mosque Construction Must Stop (5.29.12)

Oregon
On May 24, Judge Pamela Gump ruled the Source Weekly, a local alternative weekly isn’t qualified to publish legal notice. In this case, a Redmond man placed a notice in the Source Weekly.  Western Communications – parent company of the Bend Bulletin–contested the weekly’s publishing such notices, arguing that the law requires a base of subscribers. The Judge ruled that because the Source Weekly does not fit the statutory definition of newspaper, the notice was not properly delivered.
http://www.pnrc.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Order-re-Sufficiency.pdf
OPB News, Judge Rules Against Alt-weekly in Public Notice Case (5-30-12)

Nebraska Press Association
Last month, the NPA launched its legal notice website (www.nepublicnotices.com).  Its website is accessible 24 hours per day at no cost.  On this site you will find: Advertisements for bids, notices of land use hearings and other hearings, financial reports, meeting proceedings, new ordinances and other local, county and state governmental actions.  Also, in the near future, users have the opportunity to subscribe to “Smart Search,” a website feature that alerts subscribers when notices of interest are published in Nebraska newspapers.

 Local Government
The City of Riverside, Calif., provided voters with an option to amend its charter to allow bids on public works contracts to be advertised electronically rather than in newspapers. Voters overwhelmingly rejected this amendment by 54.3% to 45.7%.  We believe the results of Riverside reflect what most people already know: A majority of the public wants public notice in newspapers.

Forest Service: Newspapers Used for Publication of Legal Notices by the Intermountain Region; Utah, Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming
On June 6, the Forest Service released a list of newspapers that will be used by the ranger districts, forests and regional office of the Intermountain Region to publish legal notices. The intended effect of this action is to inform interested members of the public which newspapers the Forest Service will use to publish notices of proposed actions and notices of decision. This will provide the public with constructive notice of Forest Service proposals and decisions, provide information on the procedures to comment or appeal, and establish the date that the Forest Service will use to determine if comments or appeals were timely. The newspapers are:
Idaho Statesman
Reno Gazette-Journal
Casper Star-Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune
Vernal Express
Uintah Basin Standard
Rocket Miner
The Star-News
Messenger-Index
Idaho World
Idaho State Journal
Post Register
Daily Spectrum
Richfield Reaper
Elko Daily Free Press
The Battle Mountain Bugle
The Ely Times
Humboldt Sun
Las Vegas Review Journal
Tonopah Times Bonanza-Goldfield News
Sun Advocate
Emery County Progress
Times Independent
San Juan Record
Sanpete Messenger
Adams County Record
Signal American
The Recorder-Herald
The Challis Messenger
The Times News
Idaho Mountain Express
Provo Daily Herald
Uinta County Herald
Logan Herald Journal
Standard Examiner

Document Citation: 77 FR 33703 

Federal

Postal Service
The Postal Service just adopted regulations that allow the Postal Service to either publish forfeiture notices in a newspaper generally circulated in the judicial district where the property was seized or post the forfeiture notices on a federal government website (www.forfeiture.gov) for at least 30 consecutive days. Currently, the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security are considering adopting similar regulations.  The Public Notice Resource Center, the Newspaper Association of America, the National Newspaper Association, and the American Court and Commercial Newspapers opposed such changes.
Document Citation: 77 FR 25596

Senior Citizen Internet Survey

Pew Internet & American Life Project
A survey released on June 6, by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that as of April 2012, 53% of American adults age 65 and older use the Internet or email. Though these adults are still less likely than all other age groups to use the Internet, the latest data represent that more seniors are going online.  Although this trend shows that more seniors are using the Internet, it also shows that almost an equal number are not using the Internet.

State Legislation

Public Notice Bills
We have a legislative chart that lists key 2012 public notice bills.
http://www.pnrc.net/subscriber-resources/state-legislative-chart/

Recent Activity

Hawaii – HB 1875
Foreclosure notices in newspaper publications: (i)Requiring that the newspaper be distributed within the geographic area of the property for at least one year, rather than six months, and to at least three percent of the residents of that geographic area, rather than at least one percent of those residents;  (ii) Defining “geographic area” to mean the real property tax zone of the property if located in the County of Hawaii, or otherwise the county in which the property is located; and  (iii) Repealing the newspaper criteria two years after the effective date of this measure, and thereafter requiring that the public notice appear in a newspaper that is published at least weekly and has a general circulation in the county in which the property is located.
5/7/2012 H Transmitted to Governor. (The Governor has until July 10 to sign it.)

Louisiana – HR 182
Requests that the owners of The Times-Picayune continue to publish a daily print edition, commends the newspaper’s staff, and recognizes the singular place the newspaper holds in New Orleans history and in citizens’ daily lives
Filed with the Secretary of State 6/4/2012

HB 580
Provides for the posting of the notice of a meeting of a public body on the official website of the public body
Sent to the Governor Updated: 6/4/2012

New York – A8075
Allows for additional online publication of public notice by counties, municipalities and school districts.
05/31/2011 referred to governmental operations

A00535
Amends the definition of “newspaper”; deletes provisions of law requiring “newspaper” to include paid circulation.
05/22/2012 held for consideration in judiciary

Rhode Island – SB 2255
Public notice of lien sale is no longer required in a newspaper.  The notice must now be provided on a publicly accessible web site identified in the rental agreement.
05/25/2012 Signed by Governor

HB 7047
An Act relating to the town of North Providence when a regular or special meeting is to be held elsewhere, notice posted electronically instead of in a newspaper
05/30/2012 Signed by Governor

States In Session
California                    (Adjourn 11/30/12)
Delaware                     (Adjourn 6/30/12)
Massachusetts             (Adjourn 7/31/12)
Michigan                     (Adjourn 12/31/12)
New Jersey                  (Adjourn 12/31/12)
New York                   (Adjourn 12/31/12)
North Carolina            (Adjourn 6/29/12)
Ohio                            (Adjourn 12/31/12)
Pennsylvania               (Adjourn 11/30/12)
Rhode Island              (Adjourn 6/22/12)

News

Louisiana
The Lens, Bill could end TPs longtime hold on lucrative legal-notice ads (6.4.12)

Colorado
DenverPost.com, Foreclosure notices intended to inform the public may go unseen (6.3.12)

Florida
The Daily Home, Leasing process leaves out public input (5.27.12)

Ohio
TwinsburgBulletin.com, Ohio lawmakers give approval for drilling law (5.25.12) (online public notice of permits)
Vindy.com, Ohio lawmakers OK tougher rules for new oil and gas wells (5.24.12)
Canton Rep.com, Editorial Make drilling permit application public (5.21.12)

Pennsylvania
Times Reporter.com, Make energy bill fully transparent (5.22.12)

North Dakota
The Bismarck Tribune, Mandan board fixes public meeting policy (5.22.12)

National
LinkedIn: It is time to move legal notices online (5.14.12)

Oregon
Neighborhood Notes, Cracking the Codes of Land Use in Portland (5.15.12)

Louisiana
Silo Breaker, Agencies quiet on seizure (5.12.12)

May 2012

Welcome New PNRC Subscriber
We’re pleased to announce that PNRC has added another new subscriber. PNRC has 39 subscribers and looks forward to adding more in 2012. Welcome and thanks to the Newspaper Association of America.

Community Newspapers and Public Notice

The Western Observer’s Dedication to Public Notice
Tiffany Waddell, co-owner and publisher of The Western Observer, a small community newspaper covering Jones County, Texas, has developed eye-catching public notice ads to help alert the community of local government activities.

“Many people in town have been affected by the government’s actions and have no idea because notice is not delivered in newspapers.” Tiffany says.

In one ad, “They Just Sold Your Cattle. Or Didn’t You Know?” grabbed the attention of local ranchers who were frustrated with the county government because it didn’t publish notices in newspapers prior to selling ranchers’ loose cattle.

“The county was just rounding up roaming livestock, publishing notices on a rarely viewed government website, and then auctioning the livestock off,” Tiffany says. “We live in a small community. The government should have done more to find the rightful owners.”

In another ad, “You Can’t Vote Here Anymore—Or Didn’t You Know?” highlights the government’s removal of redistricting and voting information from newspapers.

“In order for citizens to exercise their fundamental right, they need to know where to vote and the names of the candidates running for office,” Tiffany says. “By not providing this information in places where people normally get information, reduces voter participation.”

Tiffany’s passion for public notice started while working part-time nights at The Western Observer.

“I noticed how important the newspaper is because so many people rely on it for information.  If the government doesn’t disclose what they are doing in a newspaper, few will know.”  A few months later, when the opportunity arose, she and her husband purchased the paper, and from there, she started a public notice ad campaign because the local government was keeping people in the dark by posting notices on a government website—a website few visited.

Her public notice campaigns are not without controversy.

“There are a couple of elected officials that want me to just go away” Tiffany says.   Most recently, the Jones County Commission voted to approve the building of a $35 million dollar prison and it advertised request for proposals on its website, where only a few knew its location.  So Tiffany unleashed an ad, “Construction will begin in your city or hadn’t you heard?” to inform the public that construction bids are being accepted by the county government.

Tiffany has received positive feedback from the community for her public notice ads.  “People want to be kept informed. Simply putting public notice ads on a government website is not keeping people informed, especially when a large number of residents do not have access to computers.”  Tiffany says.  “The community newspaper is all some people have as a resource for community news.

Being in a small family town, we rely on both notices in newspapers and each other for information.”

Federal

Department of Homeland Security (Comment Deadline was April 9, 2012)
The Department of Homeland Security released a proposed regulation that would allow the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to post seizure and intent to forfeit notices on an official Government forfeiture website instead of newspapers.  The National Newspaper Association joined the Public Notice Resource Center, along with American Court and Commercial Newspapers and the Newspaper Association of America, to oppose this change.  The coalition submitted a letter to DHS in opposition to the proposal.
http://www.pnrc.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Final-DHS-letter-9-April-2012.pdf

PNRC Article Covering DHS’s Proposal
Placher, David, Publishers’ Auxiliary, DHS wants to reduce transparency (5.2012

Idaho
Prior to foreclosure of a deed of trust, a trustee is required to publish notice in a newspaper of general circulation for four (4) consecutive weeks.  Last month, Idaho became the second state to pass legislation (HB 624) that prohibits a trustee from profiting by or having a financial interest in a newspaper publishing a legally required foreclosure notice.   This legislation is in response to a growing business model that allows a person to profit by acting as both a foreclosure trustee and newspaper publisher.

According to the Crosscut, “The strange case of Washington’s newest newspaper publisher,” Stephen Routh, both an attorney and publisher, is one of those foreclosure trustees that profits from both handling foreclosure cases and publishing foreclosure notices in newspapers.  Mr. Routh runs a large foreclosure-service business and also runs RIM Publications.

RIM Publications has been buying and starting small newspapers in a few states. In iLind, “Local newspapers face another likely competitor for lucrative legal notices,” reports that Mr. Routh is laying the groundwork to expand his operation to include Hawaii.  RIM Publications started Island Sun Weekly, an independent community newspaper, in December 2011.  Island Sun Weekly is distributed and circulated in Maui, Oahu, and Kauai.

With Mr. Routh’s integrated foreclosure business allowing him to profit from preparing foreclosure notices and then again to publish them, he effectively double dips on foreclosure fees. The risk, however, is that only one party is preparing and publishing the foreclosure notices, ultimately increasing the chance of error.  Unfortunately in the foreclosure business, one mistake can cost innocent parties their homes and devastate their lives.  With only Missouri and Idaho having laws that prohibit this business model, the remainder forty-eight states could witness both its growth and its unintended consequences.

Newspaper Readership Survey

Pew Internet & American Life Project
Nearly three quarters (72%) of adults are quite attached to following local news and information, and local newspapers are by far the source they rely on for much of the local information they need. In fact, local news enthusiasts are substantially more wedded to their local newspapers than others. They are much more likely than others to say that if their local newspaper vanished, it would have a major impact on their ability to get the local information they want.
PIP_PEJ_Local_News_Enthusiasts_041212  (4.12.12)

Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act
On February 6, the American Bar Association endorsed a proposed uniform law aiming at new standards for state government websites that host legal materials. The Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act (UELMA) is proposed by the Uniform Laws Commission because some states are abandoning the public printings of statutes, regulations and case law.  Currently, there are six states that are considering the UELMA, which would provide for the official designation, authentication, and preservation of certain legal material in electronic records by an official publisher.

LEGISLATIVE WRAP-UP–KEY ACTIONS

California
SB 1075
Senate Judiciary Hearing 4/25/12

Colorado
HB 12-1209
Signed by the President of Senate and Speaker of House on 4/19/12

Connecticut
SB 418
Favorable report, tabled for the calendar in Senate 5/1/12

Minnesota
HF 2527
Bill was passed 04/17/12

Rhode Island
HB 7750
Legislative Date Systems Room 1 04/30/12

Tennessee
HB 3656 / SB 2894
HB 3656 Placed on s/c cal Judiciary Subcommittee for 3/14/2012
SB 2894 P2C, ref. to S. Jud Comm. 01/26/2012

State Legislation

Public Notice Bills
We have a legislative chart that lists many 2012 public notice bills.
http://www.pnrc.net/subscriber-resources/state-legislative-chart/

Recent Activity

Alabama
SB 73 Relating to the publication of legal notices; to amend Sections 6-8-60, 6-8-62, 6-8-64, and 6-8-65, Code of Alabama 1975, to authorize the electronic publication of legal notices; to require newspapers maintaining Internet websites to publish legal notices on the website in addition to publication in print in a newspaper; to require the publication of legal notices on a statewide Internet website; to specify that legal notices shall remain valid if the failure to publish was attributed to the fault of the newspaper, Internet provider, or entity hosting the statewide website; to prohibit newspapers from charging additional fees for the electronic publication of legal notices; and to further provide for the rate charged for publication of a public notice.
Enrolled 04/12/2012

California
AB 1902  (DEAD) Existing law requires that various types of notices are provided in a newspaper of general circulation. Existing law requires a newspaper of general circulation to meet certain criteria, including, among others, that it be published and have a substantial distribution to paid subscribers in the city, district, or judicial district in which it is seeking adjudication. This bill would provide that a newspaper that is available on an Internet Web site may also qualify as a newspaper of general circulation, provided that newspaper meets certain criteria.
ASM Local Government Hearing Failed Passage 4/18/12
Letter from CNPA in opposition of AB 1902

AB 1957 (DEAD) Existing law requires a tax collector to publish notice of due and delinquency dates, penalties, and payment options, on or before the day when taxes are payable to the tax collector. Existing law also requires a tax collector to publish notice of an impending default, power and intent of collector, an affidavit of collector, a delinquent list, and an intended sale. Existing law requires the notices to be published in a newspaper, as specified. This bill would allow the board of supervisors to pass a resolution allowing the tax collector to post notices on the tax collector’s regularly maintained Internet Web site, provided that the tax collector also publishes in a newspaper, as specified, a shortened publication stating the tax collector’s general Internet Web site, the specific Internet address at which the notice may be viewed, and the location of public access computer terminals that may be used to view the notice.
ASM Local Government Hearing Failed Passage 04/11/2012
Letter from CNPA in opposition to AB 1957

Connecticut
SB 38 To permit the Secretary of the State to post executive orders concerning the Governor’s proclamation of certain emergencies on the secretary’s Internet web site and publish such orders in the Connecticut Law Journal rather than publish them in a newspaper.
House Calendar Number 410   04/20/12

Idaho
HB 624 Amends existing law relating to trust deeds to prohibit trustees from having a financial interest in a newspaper publishing certain notices and to prohibit trustees from profiting, directly or indirectly, based on requisite publication of notice of trustee’s sale; to provide that such conduct shall constitute a misdemeanor and to provide penalties.
Signed by Governor 4/5/12

States In Session
Alabama                      (Adjourn 5/25/12)
California                    (Adjourn 11/30/12)
Colorado                     (Adjourn 5/9/12)
Connecticut                 (Adjourn 5/9/12)
Delaware                     (Adjourn 6/30/12)
Hawaii                         (Adjourn 5/4/12)
Illinois                         (Adjourn 5/25/12)
Louisiana                     (Adjourn 6/4/12)
Massachusetts             (Adjourn 7/31/12)
Michigan                     (Adjourn 12/31/12)
Minnesota                   (Adjourn 5/21/12)
Mississippi                   (Adjourn 5/5/12)
Missouri                      (Adjourn 5/30/12)
New Hampshire          (Adjourn 6/1/12)
New Jersey                  (Adjourn 12/31/12)
New York                   (Adjourn 12/31/12)
North Carolina            (Adjourn 6/29/12)
Ohio                            (Adjourn 12/31/12)
Pennsylvania               (Adjourn 11/30/12)
Rhode Island              (Adjourn 6/22/12)
South Carolina            (Adjourn 6/7/12)
Vermont                      (Adjourn 5/24/12)
Wisconsin                    (Adjourn 5/23/12)

News

Wyoming
Wyoming News.com, Legal ads should be in papers (4.30.12)

Hawaii
Hawaii Reporter, State Senator Appalled by Newspaper Lobbying Tactics (4.28.12)
The Maui News, Legislation would change public notice publication (4.26.12)

Maine
Seacoast online, Legal expert Meeting was illegal (4.25.12)

Tennessee (News articles covering whether public notice was properly delivered for the building of a mosque and the definition of newspaper and general circulation)  
The Murfreesboro Post, Expert Planning Commission followed state law (4.27.12)
MSNBC.com, Testimony concludes in lawsuit trial over mosque (4.26.12)
DNJ.com, Public notice battle has far reaching implications (4.24.12)
DNJ.com, Kevin Fisher contends all residents should get public notices (4.25.12)
Beauer County Times, Islam claims blocked in Tenn trial over Mosque (4.25.12)

Florida
Tampa Bay Times, St Pete Beach wins partial victory in court over development rules (4.25.12) (Whether public notice was properly delivered for construction project)
New America Media, Empowering Ethnic Seniors Online Helps to Close the Gray Gap in South Florida (4.23.12) (Story about seniors and the Internet)

Oregon
OPB News, Court Could Determine Fate Of Legal Notices In Newspapers (4.18.12) (Court to decide whether a free alt-weekly can publish legally required notice)

Hawaii
The Maui News, Proposed bill eliminates open government (4.17.12) (Hawaii lawmakers considering rolling back public notice newspaper requirements)

Maryland
The Washington Post, Maryland comptroller invites residents to hunt for unclaimed property (4.16.12) (The Maryland comptroller published a list of unclaimed property in a newspaper and he expresses the importance of publishing the list in a newspaper.)

Texas
Texas Press Messenger, Anson publisher starts her own public notice campaign (March 2012)

Federal
Federal News Radio.com, Agencies lay out plans for open Gov 2.0 (4.9.12)

National
The Washington Post, For Commerce unit hit by computer virus hardship of being unplugged has upside (4.9.12)

Kansas
The Fort Scott Tribune, When is the Sheriffs sale? (4.5.12)

Mississippi
Sunherald.com, Bill would shorten notice for some county meetings (4.4.12)

 

April 2012

Welcome New PNRC Subscriber
We’re pleased to announce that PNRC has added another new subscriber. Currently, PNRC has 37 subscribers and looks forward to adding more in 2012. Welcome and thanks to the Newspaper Association of Idaho.

Wisconsin: Another Win for Public Notice!
This month, the Wisconsin Legislature passed a favorable public notice bill (AB 548) reforming how public notice is delivered by requiring newspapers that publish public notice to also place an electronic copy, at no additional charge, on a website that is maintained by  Wisconsin newspapers for the purpose of maintaining an electronic version of  printed and published public notice.  Ann Richmond, publisher of the Daily Reporter Publishing Co, says, “we know that people locate information in newspapers and online, and this bill helps us reach both audiences by requiring public notice in both print and on the Internet.”  This bill requires newspapers to work collectively with the Wisconsin Newspaper Association to post notices on its website, www.wisconsinpublicnotices.org/.

Beth Bennett, executive director of the WNA, says, “This isn’t anything new for us because newspapers have been voluntarily posting their notices on WNA’s website for six years.  It is just a matter of the law catching up with the industry.”  Bennett points out that WNA’s website is user friendly and free to access, that the notices are archived, and that the notices are searchable using key terms or dates.  “We think people must have complete access to public notice,” Bennett says.

Richmond believes that Wisconsin could be a model for other states that are considering expanding how public notice is published.  “We recognize the Internet is a powerful tool to search for information and we know more people use the Internet every day, but we also know that the Internet is not without problems and that print is the best way to ensure public notice is verifiable and archivable because the information is in print and cannot be changed.”

Bennett credits the Wisconsin Department of Administration for working with the WNA and its lobbyist.  “In Wisconsin, the WDA is the state agency that must certify a newspaper in order for it to publish public notice, and this certification process occurs every two years. Because WDA plays such a large role in selecting who can publish public notice, without its blessing, we wouldn’t have been successful.”  The bill was sponsored by a bipartisan coalition of 8 assembly members and 5 senators.

Bennett admits, however, that the process to update Wisconsin’s law was not worry-free. “We have heard that in other states, some legislators want to completely remove public notice from print and replace it with posting on government websites. We were worried that a Wisconsin legislator would try and float that idea.  We know that anytime you start tinkering with a law, the end version may be completely different than your original goal.”

Bennett says that the bill also has additional positive features.   All public notice must now be in Arial type face and the fee for publishing public notice shall be the rate issued by the WDA.  “We now have font consistency for public notice and we can now work with the WDA to help set a rate instead of one being required by statute. This has been a win for Wisconsinites and a win for public notice. Right now, we are just waiting for the governor to sign it.”

The Center for Public Integrity
http://www.stateintegrity.org/your_state
The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) released a report detailing the risk of corruption and lack of accountability in all 50 states. The findings of the report should worry anyone who believes state governments are transparent and free of corruption.   The CPI’s report examined issues concerning accountability and ethics in each state government. States were graded on 330 separate metrics, which were grouped into 14 major categories. Overall grades are based on the average grades in the major categories, which included lobbying disclosure, political financing, internal auditing, ethics enforcement agencies and redistricting.  Most states scored poorly. No state earned an A, and only five states received better than a B+. More than half the states received a D+ or worse. Scored from 1 to 100, eight states earned failing grades of 59 or below from the project.

The CPI’s report is a reminder that state governments have room to improve their transparency. If state governments set higher standards for transparency, citizens can make better informed decisions when holding elected officials accountable.  The best way state governments can keep citizens informed is to notify citizens of government meetings and activities by using both newspapers and newspaper digital publications. Posting to government Internet sites can be a plus when it is used with newspaper outreach, but with low readership, those postings don’t achieve public notice goals.

Federal

Department of Homeland Security (Comment Deadline is April 9, 2012)
The Department of Homeland Security released a proposed regulation that would allow the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to post seizure and intent to forfeit notices on an official Government forfeiture website instead of newspapers.  PNRC will submit a comment letter by the April 9th deadline.

http://www.pnrc.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/BILLS-112s1853is1.pdf

Last year, the Department of Justice released a similar proposed regulation for the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. PNRC, along with other organizations, submitted a comment letter.  As of today, the DOJ’s proposed regulation has not been finalized.

http://www.pnrc.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/July-8-2011-forfeitures-final.pdf

Alaska
Recently, Anchorage voters passed Proposition 6 that allows the municipality to publish public notice online rather than in print. Supporters of the proposition wrongly believe it will save the municipality money.  Opponents of the proposition point out that websites are not permanent and that information posted online can be lost or altered.   Little press attention was paid to the referendum.  It appears there was no organized effort to educate the public on the importance of public notice in independent publications.

Proposition Language
PROPOSITION NO. 6
SHALL THE ANCHORAGE MUNICIPAL CHARTER SECTION 17.13, DEFINITION OF “PUBLISH” BE AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS: (underlined text is new, capitalized and blocked text is deleted)

“Publish” means to cause to be posted on a municipal website designated for public notices [PRINTED AT LEAST ONCE IN AT LEAST ONE NEWSPAPER OF GENERAL CIRCULATION WITHIN THE MUNICIPALITY,] the matter required by law to be published. Unless otherwise provided by the assembly, posting shall be maintained for seven consecutive days. The assembly shall provide for additional modes of dissemination.

RESULTS
PROPOSITION 6 – DEFINITION OF PUBLISH
Total Number of Precincts  121
Precincts Reporting  118 97.5%
Times Counted  54946/204838 26.8%
Total Votes  50611
YES  34192 67.56%
NO  16419 32.44%

Chugiak Eagle River Store, Some ink in defense of print (3.29.12)

California
The California Newspaper Publishers Association in March became the latest state press association to square off against an assault against newspaper public notice by sending a hard-hitting letter to the bill’s sponsor opposing AB 1957.  This bill would give county treasurers, upon passage of a resolution by the county board of supervisors, the option of not publishing the annual list of delinquent taxpayers in a newspaper of general circulation. If AB 1957 is passed, it would harm the public’s right to know about important government actions and harm private property rights.  The legislature should take a step back from the brink of adopting a negative public notice bill and closely look at Wisconsin’s (AB 548) and Florida’s (HB 937) positive public notice bills and learn from their actions.

Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act
On February 6, the American Bar Association endorsed a proposed uniform law aiming at new standards for state government websites that host legal materials. The Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act (UELMA) is proposed by the Uniform Laws Commission because some states are abandoning the public printings of statutes, regulations and case law.  Currently, there are six states that are considering the UELMA, which would provide for the official designation, authentication, and preservation of certain legal material in electronic records by an official publisher.

California
SB 1075
Senate Judiciary hearing 04/17/2012 

Colorado
HB 12-1209
02/23/2012 House Judiciary Committee

Connecticut
SB 418
4/2/12 Filed with Legislative Commissioners’ Office

Minnesota
HF 2527
03/14/12 Civil Law: Second reading

Rhode Island
HB 7750
02/16/2012 Introduced, referred to House Judiciary

Tennessee
HB 3656 / SB 2894
HB 3656 Placed on s/c cal Judiciary Subcommittee for 3/14/2012
SB 2894 P2C, ref. to S. Jud Comm. 01/26/2012

State Legislation

Public Notice Bills
We have a legislative chart that lists many 2012 public notice bills.
http://www.pnrc.net/subscriber-resources/state-legislative-chart/

Recent Activity

Alaska
HB 182 An Act relating to electronic publication of certain municipal notices and publication and electronic distribution of reports by state agencies.
4/4/12 Referred to State Affairs

Arizona
HB 2371 Unclaimed property: Changes owner notification in newspaper: publication of property valued at more than one hundred fifty dollars.
3/28/12 Transmitted to the Governor

California
AB 1902 Existing law requires that various types of notices are provided in a newspaper of general circulation. Existing law requires a newspaper of general circulation to meet certain criteria, including, among others, that it be published and have a substantial distribution to paid subscribers in the city, district, or judicial district in which it is seeking adjudication. This bill would provide that a newspaper that is available on an Internet Web site may also qualify as a newspaper of general circulation, provided that newspaper meets certain criteria.
03/08/2012 Referred to Com. on G.O.
Letter from CNPA in opposition of AB 1902

AB 1957 Existing law requires a tax collector to publish notice of due and delinquency dates, penalties, and payment options, on or before the day when taxes are payable to the tax collector. Existing law also requires a tax collector to publish notice of an impending default, power and intent of collector, an affidavit of collector, a delinquent list, and an intended sale. Existing law requires the notices to be published in a newspaper, as specified. This bill would allow the board of supervisors to pass a resolution allowing the tax collector to post notices on the tax collector’s regularly maintained Internet Web site, provided that the tax collector also publishes in a newspaper, as specified, a shortened publication stating the tax collector’s general Internet Web site, the specific Internet address at which the notice may be viewed, and the location of public access computer terminals that may be used to view the notice.
Hearing Date 04/17/2012
Letter from CNPA in opposition to AB 1957

Connecticut
SB 38 To permit the Secretary of the State to post executive orders concerning the Governor’s proclamation of certain emergencies on the secretary’s Internet web site and publish such orders in the Connecticut Law Journal rather than publish them in a newspaper.
3/13/2012 (LCO) File Number 23

Georgia
HB 649 A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 5 of Chapter 4 of Title 10 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to self-service storage facilities, so as to provide a short title; to provide procedures for sending notice of default; to provide for print or electronic publication of notice of public sale of property;
4/12/2011 – House Hopper

Idaho
HB 624 Amends existing law relating to trust deeds to prohibit trustees from having a financial interest in a newspaper publishing certain notices and to prohibit trustees from profiting, directly or indirectly, based on requisite publication of notice of trustee’s sale; to provide that such conduct shall constitute a misdemeanor and to provide penalties.
3/29/12 To Governor

Maine
Governor Paul LePage’s supplemental budget
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Governor may direct state agencies to utilize the online public notice services contracted in Section 1 of this Part for any notice required by state law.  Any notices published with such service shall be for such duration and within such time limits as otherwise required by State law.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, for the 2012-2013 biennium such online public notice shall replace other requirements of state law for notice, including, but not limited to, newspaper, television, radio or other advertising.
Public notice provision was removed on March 28
Morning Sentinel, Committee recommends print notices stay (3.28.12)

Massachusetts
HB 3898 House Bill 3898 would amend G.L. Chapter 30B, the Uniform Procurement Act, where it requires public notice of all invitations for bids. Currently, the law requires the notice to be: “published at least once, not less than two weeks prior to the time specified for the receipt of bids, in a newspaper of general circulation within the area served by the government body.”

The governor’s proposal would add the following line: “or, in the alternative, on a public internet web site of either the governmental body or the commonwealth.”

This would apply only to local government procurement – not to state agencies. However, Chapter 30B applies broadly to all local government contracts for supplies, services and real property.
1/26/2012 House Referred to the House committee on Ways and Means

Wisconsin
AB 548 Under this bill, all legal notices must be published in Arial type face and a standard line rate applies for all publications.  The bill eliminates the minimum rate and requires the standard line rate to be reviewed annually.  In addition, under the bill, any newspaper that publishes a legal notice must also place an electronic copy of the legal notice, at no additional charge, on a Web site that is maintained by Wisconsin newspapers for the purpose of maintaining an electronic version of printed and published legal notices. For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be printed as an appendix to this bill.
3/15/12 Report correctly enrolled

News

Tennessee
DNI.com, County moves to dismiss lawsuit over public notice in mosque case (4.3.12)

Kansas
Kansas City Star, Google project could widen gap in Kansas City between computer haves and have nots (3.30.12)

Washington
Crosscut.com, The strange case of Washington’s newest newspaper publisher (1.31.12)
(What do foreclosure notices and publishing community newspapers have to do with each other?  Quite a bit, particularly for a publisher of three Washington papers.)

Arizona
Green Valley News and Sun, Editorial  Our View Can you trust your government (3.20.12)

National
Nevada Policy Research Institute, National mortgage settlement details finally revealed over a month after settlement was first announced (3.12.12)

California
East County Magazine, Jones Bill Would Give Consumers Access To Public Notices Online (3.8.12)

North Carolina
Mtairynews.com, Public notice problem may delay solar farm (3.12.12)

 

www.pnrc.net

P.O. Box 5337 – Arlington, VA – 22205

info@pnrc.net – (p) 703.237.9806 – (f) 703.237.9808

March 2012

 

Welcome New PNRC Subscriber

 

We’re pleased to announce that PNRC has added another new subscriber. Currently, PNRC has 37 subscribers and looks forward to adding more in 2012. Welcome and thanks to:

 

Hawaii Publishers Association

 

A Florida Success Story

 

Public notice has been under attack by the Florida Legislature for years. Knowing it would continue, Chris Mobley, publisher of the Daily Business Review in South Florida and president of the American Court and Commercial Newspapers, Inc., worked with the Florida Press Association (FPA) and an intricate alliance of organizations, lobbyists and lawmakers to devise a plan last summer to help reduce the intensity of the attack this year—and it worked.

The FPA, led by President & CEO Dean Ridings and General Counsel Sam Morley, took the lead role on ground-breaking legislation and Mobley supported its efforts with the work of his lobbyists and alliances. There was plenty of defensive work to be done as well. These are the players:

–three effective lobbyists representing the business/legal newspapers group, including the Daily Business Review, the Gulf Coast Business Review and the Financial News & Daily Record in Jacksonville.

–the Keep the Public Noticed Coalition, a committee of continuing education that includes the AARP, the NAACP, black- and Hispanic-owned newspapers and the business/legal newspapers

–the FPA, its CEO and general counsel/chief lobbyist and the two Holland & Knight lobbyists it hired this year (Mobley serves on the Board of Directors and the Government Affairs and Public Notice committees)

–key publishers of newspaper members of the FPA, who called on key legislators at critical moments during the session at the request of the FPA CEO and the general counsel/chief lobbyist

–South Florida publishers, including publishers of the Miami Herald, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, Treasure Coast Newspapers and Diario Las Americas

–the Associated Industries of Florida lobby team and its new CEO, Tom Feeney, a former Speaker of the House

–a team of Daily Business Review (DBR) managers, who each had about half a dozen legislators assigned to call on throughout the year as part of FPA’s grass-roots effort

–Florida TaxWatch and its CEO, who helped with a particularly difficult legislator, who eventually sponsored the sweeping legislation outlined above (the DBR is a dues-paying member)

–American Court & Commercial Newspapers and the Public Notice Resource Center, which provided useful supporting data and talking points for position papers throughout (Mobley is in his fifth year as president)

The plan included having a public notice forum at the 2011 Florida Press Association annual conference.

“We wanted to invite people with various views on public notice and allow each to express their opinions and listen to others, hoping we could reach a consensus,” Mobley said.    Rep. Ritch Workman, who introduced a bill in 2011 that would have authorized local governments to use their websites for public notice, participated in the forum.   Also attending, Dominic Calabro, representing Florida TaxWatch, a group widely recognized as the watchdog for Floridians’ hard-earned tax dollars.

“Rep. Workman was straightforward about his desire to make public notice in Florida more effective and less expensive to government. Calabro had no issue with saving money, but he ably represented the public’s interest by espousing that public notice should be published by an independent source because the government simply cannot be trusted to assume both the legal and financial responsibilities to publish public notice,” Mobley said.

During this year’s legislative session, Rep. Workman co-sponsored a favorable public notice bill (HB 937) that passed both the House and Senate and is now headed to the governor’s desk. The measure requires public notice to be placed on a newspaper’s website the same day as in the paper at no extra charge. Newspapers that charge for online access would have to provide a free link to view public notice.

This year, however, did not go without incident.  A hotly contested and divisive public notice bill (HB 149) would have removed the requirement to publish public notice about foreclosures in newspapers, instead requiring postings on government websites.  This bill was quickly defeated.

“Because legislative sessions are so unpredictable, you must be strong and well-connected individually and you must form alliances that bring even greater strength and influence,” Mobley says.

Mobley, however, points out a cautious warning about this year: “Today’s victories are sweet, but they can be fleeting.  There is certainly no guarantee that public notice will not be an issue next year.

Work on next year’s session started the Monday after this year’s session. I learned that from my lobbyists.”

More on HB 937

 

HB 937 Passed Both Houses

 

Legal Notices: Requiring that, after a specified date, if a legal notice is published in a newspaper, the newspaper publishing the notice shall also place the notice on a website maintained by the newspaper; revising physical requirements for proof of publication affidavits; authorizing electronic affidavits that meet specified requirements; limiting the rate that may be charged for government notices required to be published more than once in certain circumstances; requiring that website publication of certain legal notices include maps that appear in the newspaper advertisements; making it optional for the Chief Financial Officer to advertise the availability of the governmental efficiency hotline, etc.

 

Wisconsin: Another Success Story

 

                The Wisconsin Legislature recently passed a favorable public notice bill (AB 548).  This bill requires that any newspaper that publishes a legal notice must also place an electronic copy of the legal notice, at no additional charge, on a Web site that is maintained by Wisconsin newspapers for the purpose of maintaining an electronic version of printed and published legal notices.  This bill is supported by the Wisconsin Press Association.

Wisconsin

AB 548

Under this bill, all legal notices must be published in Arial type face and a standard line rate applies for all publications.  The bill eliminates the minimum rate and requires the standard line rate to be reviewed annually.  In addition, under the bill, any newspaper that publishes a legal notice must also place an electronic copy of the legal notice, at no charge, on a Web site that is maintained by Wisconsin newspapers for the purpose of maintaining an electronic version of printed and published legal notices.  For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate which will be printed as an appendix to this bill.

03/12/12 Report correctly enrolled

 

Federal

Department of Homeland Security (Comment Deadline is April 9, 2012)

            The Department of Homeland Security released a proposed regulation that would allow the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to post seizure and intent to forfeit notices on an official Government forfeiture website instead of newspapers.  PNRC will submit a comment letter by the April 9th deadline.

http://www.pnrc.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/BILLS-112s1853is1.pdf

            Last year, the Department of Justice released a similar proposed regulation for the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. PNRC, along with other organizations, submitted a comment letter.  As of today, the DOJ’s proposed regulation has not been finalized.

 

http://www.pnrc.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/July-8-2011-forfeitures-final.pdf

HHS

Health and Human Services (HHS) released a final rule that implements provisions of section 10201(i) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 that set forth public notice procedures for experimental, pilot, and demonstration projects approved under section 1115 of the Social Security Act relating to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  HHS has retained state discretion to choose either its Administrative Register or newspaper (or both) as vehicles to provide public notice in addition to requiring notice on the main page of the State’s Web site.  HHS also requires states to use additional approaches, such as electronic mailing lists to provide public notice.

 

http://www.pnrc.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/HHS-final-rule-Feb2012.pdf

 

 

Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act

            On February 6, the American Bar Association endorsed a proposed uniform law aiming at new standards for state government websites that host legal materials. The Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act (UELMA) is proposed by the Uniform Laws Commission because some states are abandoning the public printings of statutes, regulations and case law.  Currently, there are five states that are considering the UELMA, which would provide for the official designation, authentication, and preservation of certain legal material in electronic records by an official publisher.

 

California

 

SB 1075

 

Bill Status: Last action Date 3/01/2012 Pending

 

Colorado

 

HB 12-1209

 

02/23/2012 House Judiciary Committee

 

Minnesota

 

HF 2527

 

03/14/12 Civil Law: Second reading

 

Rhode Island

 

HB 7750

 

02/16/2012 Introduced, referred to House Judiciary

 

Tennessee

 

HB 3656 / SB 2894

 

HB 3656 Placed on s/c cal Judiciary Subcommittee for 3/14/2012

 

SB 2894 P2C, ref. to S. Jud Comm. 01/26/2012

 

 

State Legislation

 

Public Notice Bills

 

We have a legislative chart that lists many 2012 public notice bills.

 

http://www.pnrc.net/subscriber-resources/state-legislative-chart/

 

Recent Activity

 

Alabama

 

SB 73

 

Relating to the publication of legal notices; to amend Sections 6-8-60, 6-8-62, 6-8-64, and 6-8-65, Code of Alabama 1975, to authorize the electronic publication of legal notices; to require newspapers maintaining Internet websites to publish legal notices on the website in addition to publication in print in a newspaper; to require the publication of legal notices on a statewide Internet website; to specify that legal notices shall remain valid if the failure to publish was attributed to the fault of the newspaper, Internet provider, or entity hosting the statewide website; to prohibit newspapers from charging additional fees for the electronic publication of legal notices; and to further provide for the rate charged for publication of a public notice.

 

Ward Notice, Legal H Passed by Second House State Government 03/06/2012

 

HB 290

 

This bill would require newspapers accepting legal notices, in addition to publishing the legal notice in print, to publish the legal notice on an Internet website if the newspaper maintains an Internet website, as well as on a state website.

 

02/09/12 Read for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on State Government

 

Arizona

 

HB 2371

 

Unclaimed property: Changes owner notification in newspaper: publication of property valued at more than one hundred fifty dollars.

 

03/05/12 SENATE RULES

 

California

 

AB 1902

 

Existing law requires that various types of notices are provided in a newspaper of general circulation. Existing law requires a newspaper of general circulation to meet certain criteria, including, among others, that it be published and have a substantial distribution to paid subscribers in the city, district, or judicial district in which it is seeking adjudication. This bill would provide that a newspaper that is available on an Internet Web site may also qualify as a newspaper of general circulation, provided that newspaper meets certain criteria.

 

LAST HIST. ACT. DATE:  03/08/2012 Referred to Com. on  G.O.

 

Letter from CNPA in opposition of AB 1902

 

Colorado

 

HB 12-1229

 

Every legal notice or advertisement that is required by law to be published in a newspaper

must be carried in a newspaper that meets the requisites of a legal newspaper, as provided by statute. This bill creates a definition for the term “published” to mean that a newspaper maintains an office in the county to gather news, sell advertising, or conduct the general business of newspaper publications. In circumstances where there is no newspaper published in a particular county or an adjoining county, the bill provides that a legal notice may be published in a newspaper having general circulation within the county. The bill takes effect August 8, 2012, assuming the General Assembly adjourns May 9, 2012, as scheduled, and no referendum petition is filed.

 

02/24/2012 Introduced In Senate – Assigned to Local Government

 

Connecticut

 

SB 38

 

To permit the Secretary of the State to post executive orders concerning the Governor’s proclamation of certain emergencies on the secretary’s Internet web site and publish such orders in the Connecticut Law Journal rather than publish them in a newspaper.

 

3/13/2012 (LCO) File Number 23

 

Hawaii

 

SB 2233

 

Requires government agencies to disseminate publications of notice electronically; provides the option of additional supplemental notice in a daily or weekly publication of statewide circulation or in a daily or weekly publication in the affected county, as appropriate; appropriates funds for the operational expenses of the office of information management technology; electronic notice requirement effective 1/1/2013.

 

3/9/2012 H Bill scheduled to be heard by JUD on Thursday, 03-15-12 2:00PM in House conference room 325.

 

SB 2219

 

Authorizes government agencies to publish notices electronically or online on the state or county official government websites in lieu of publication in a newspaper or other written publication.

 

 

2/8/2012 S The committee on EDT deferred the measure.

 

HB 2456  / SB 2718

 

Allows government agencies to publish notices electronically on the official government websites in lieu of publication in a newspaper or other written publication.

 

HB 2456 2/14/2012 H The committee(s) on FIN recommend(s) that the measure be deferred.

 

SB 2718 1/25/2012 S Referred to EDT/PGM, JDL.

 

Massachusetts

 

HB 3898

 

House Bill 3898 would amend G.L. Chapter 30B, the Uniform Procurement Act, where it requires public notice of all invitations for bids. Currently, the law requires the notice to be:

 

“published at least once, not less than two weeks prior to the time specified for the receipt of bids, in a newspaper of general circulation within the area served by the government body.”

 

The governor’s proposal would add the following line:

 

“or, in the alternative, on a public internet web site of either the governmental body or the commonwealth.”

 

This would apply only to local government procurement – not to state agencies. However, Chapter 30B applies broadly to all local government contracts for supplies, services and real property.

 

Currently pending with House Ways and Means

 

Minnesota

 

HF 2881

 

Hennepin County; financial statement and audit requirements modified.

 

03/14/12 Introduction and first reading, referred to Government Operations and Elections

 

 

HF 1954

 

Counties and cities required to report additional budgetary information on a website.  If no website, then must publish information in newspaper

 

02/22/12  Referred to property and Local tax Division

 

HF 2882

 

Counties authorized to publish the proceedings of the county board on the county’s Web site.

 

03/14/12  Introduction and first reading, referred to Government Operations and Elections

 

HF 2326

 

Longer public notice period provided for zoning ordinance or amendment for large projects.   (Large projects public notice would now be posted on website instead of newspaper)

 

02/16/12  Introduction and first reading, referred to  Government Operations and Elections

 

Tennessee

 

HB 2835

 

Newspapers and Publications – As introduced, requires notices of foreclosures, land sales, transactions involving real property and other legal notices required by statute be publicized by either publishing notice in certain local newspapers or posting notice on certain web sites.

 

Filed for Introduction 1/19/12

 

SB 2665HB 2720 (Identical Bills)

 

Railroads – As introduced, adds Chattanooga to the list of cities in which public notice by newspaper must be provided prior to any meeting of a railroad company’s stockholders to approve the issuance of bonds and stock

 

SB 2665: P2C, ref. to S. T&S Comm. 01/25/2012

 

HB 2720: Intro., P1C. 01/19/2012

 

SB 3430HB 3795 (Identical Bills)

 

Open Meetings – As introduced, requires notice of government operations committee sunset hearings be posted on the comptroller and general assembly web sites, deleting the current requirement that such notice be published in newspapers of general circulation. – Amends TCA Title 4, Chapter 29.

SB 3430  Action Def. in S. Govt. Ops. Comm. to last cal. 02/15/2012

 

HB 3795 Taken Off Notice For Cal. in: State & Local Government Committee

 

SB 3355HB 2835

 

Newspapers and Publications – As introduced, requires notices of foreclosures, land sales, transactions involving real property and other legal notices required by statute be publicized by either publishing notice in certain local newspapers or posting notice on certain web sites. –

SB 3355: P2C, ref. to S. S&L Govt. Comm. 02/01/2012

 

HB 2835: Intro., P1C. 01/23/2012

 

Virginia

 

HB 623SB 566 (Identical Bills)

 

Elections, administrative matters, and duties of the electoral board and general registrar.  Provides for certain administrative efficiencies: permits general registrar to administer oath to voting equipment custodians; clarifies method to give notice of change in location of general registrar’s office; modernizes procedures to give public notice of registration times and primaries; and permits absentee ballot envelopes to be opened before election day so long as the ballots are placed in a secure ballot container and no count is initiated.

 

HB 623: 03/09/12  Senate: Signed by President

 

SB 566: 03/09/12  Senate: Signed by President

 

HB 234

 

Abbreviated advertising for timeshare foreclosed properties.  Changes the newspaper advertisement requirements for the sale of foreclosed timeshare properties. Refers parties to a website which lists all pertinent information in lieu of a full printing in the newspaper advertisement.

 

Passed both House and Senate

 

HB 1193

 

Public procurement; posting by local public bodies of procurement opportunities.  Requires local public bodies to post required procurement notices on the Department of General Services’ central electronic procurement website and makes newspaper publication optional. Currently, only state public bodies are required to post procurement notices on the Department of General Services’ central electronic procurement website.

 

02/27/12  Senate: Passed by indefinitely in General Laws and Technology (10-Y 4-N)

 

News

California

East County Magazine, Jones Bill Would Give Consumers Access To Public Notices Online (3.8.12)

North Carolina

Mtairynews.com, Public notice problem may delay solar farm (3.12.12)

Florida

The Palm Beach Post, Legislature passes public notice bill (3.9.12)

Florida Today, Public notice bill Okd by Legislature boots access to information (3.10.12)

Washington

Islands Sounder.com, Keep newspaper public notices intact (2.27.12)

Virginia

Richmond Times-Dispatch, Public Information Worth noticing (2.26.12)

West Virginia

News and Sentinel.com, Public notices belong in newspaper (2.26.12)

Arizona

Prescott News, Op-Ed HB 2403 is Dead (2.20.12)

 

Welcome New or Returning PNRC Subscribers

 

We’re pleased to announce that PNRC has added new or returning associations to its subscriber list. Currently, PNRC has 36 subscribers and looks forward to adding more in 2012. Welcome and thanks to:

 

Pennsylvania Newspaper Association

New Jersey Press Association

Iowa Newspaper Association

New York Press Association

Montana Newspaper Association

North Carolina Press Association

Ohio Newspaper Association

 

PNRC Board Meeting Held 2/17/12

 

Below were topics of interest at the meeting.

Government Website Development Costs

Minnesota Case Study by Dolan Company: Public Notice Analysis for Local Governments Feb 28 2011 v2

Arizona: Public Notice Issues

Nogales International, Meeting minutes are lost cause at SC (1.24.12)

Bulletin, Public notices sidelined (1.25.12)

California: Foreclosures

New York Times, Audit Uncovers Extensive Flaws in Foreclosures (2.15.12)

 

Federal

 

United States Postal Service U.S. Senate Bill 1853

 

With Congress exploring ways to reduce the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) operating costs, Senate Bill 1853 allows USPS to close or consolidate nearly half of the postal facilities throughout the United States.  Under this bill promoted by a group of Democratic senators opposed to the closings because the impact on union jobs, before the USPS can close or consolidate a postal facility, it must conduct an investigation.  The USPS investigation must provide an opportunity for each person served by the postal facility to present their views by providing appropriate notice to each person by mail and by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the area in which each person resides.

 

Department of Homeland Security (Comment Deadline is April 9, 2012)

 

Proposed regulation that would allow the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to post seizure and intent to forfeit notices on an official government forfeiture website instead of newspapers

 

Docket No. USCBP-2011-0022

 

 

Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act

On February 6, the American Bar Association endorsed a proposed uniform law aiming at new standards for state government websites that host legal materials. The Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act (UELMA) is proposed by the Uniform Laws Commission because some states are abandoning the public printings of statutes, regulations and case law.  Currently, there are four states that are considering the UELMA, which would provide for the official designation, authentication, and preservation of certain legal material in electronic records by an official publisher.

 

California

 

SB 1075

 

Bill Status: May be acted upon on or after March 16.

 

Colorado

 

HB 12-1209

 

Status: 01/30/2012 Introduced In House – Assigned to Judiciary

 

Rhode Island

 

HB 7750

 

02/16/2012 Introduced, referred to House Judiciary

 

Tennessee

 

HB 3656 / SB 2894

 

HB 3656 Assigned to s/c Judiciary Subcommittee 02/01/2012

 

SB 2894 P2C, ref. to S. Jud Comm. 01/26/2012

 

 

Proposed Notice Bills

 

Alabama

 

SB 73

 

Relating to the publication of legal notices; to amend Sections 6-8-60, 6-8-62, 6-8-64, and 6-8-65, Code of Alabama 1975, to authorize the electronic publication of legal notices; to require newspapers maintaining Internet websites to publish legal notices on the website in addition to publication in print in a newspaper; to require the publication of legal notices on a statewide Internet website; to specify that legal notices shall remain valid if the failure to publish was attributed to the fault of the newspaper, Internet provider, or entity hosting the statewide website; to prohibit newspapers from charging additional fees for the electronic publication of legal notices; and to further provide for the rate charged for publication of a public notice.

 

Pending Committee Action in Second House State Government 02/21/2012

 

HB 290

 

This bill would require newspapers accepting legal notices, in addition to publishing the legal notice in print, to publish the legal notice on an Internet website if the newspaper maintains an Internet website, as well as on a state website.

 

Pending Committee Action in House of Origin State Government 02/09/2012

 

 

 

 

Arizona

 

HB 2371

 

Unclaimed property: Changes owner notification in newspaper: publication of property valued at more than one hundred fifty dollars.

 

Judiciary Committee passed the bill on 2/2/12 but has not moved forward

 

California

 

AB 1902

 

Existing law requires that various types of notices are provided in a newspaper of general circulation. Existing law requires a newspaper of general circulation to meet certain criteria, including, among others, that it be published and have a substantial distribution to paid subscribers in the city, district, or judicial district in which it is seeking adjudication. This bill would provide that a newspaper that is available on an Internet Web site may also qualify as a newspaper of general circulation, provided that newspaper meets certain criteria.

 

LAST HIST. ACT. DATE:  02/23/2012

 

Colorado

 

HB 12-1229

 

Every legal notice or advertisement that is required by law to be published in a newspaper

must be carried in a newspaper that meets the requisites of a legal newspaper, as provided by statute. This bill creates a definition for the term “published” to mean that a newspaper maintains an office in the county to gather news, sell advertising, or conduct the general business of newspaper publications. In circumstances where there is no newspaper published in a particular county or an adjoining county, the bill provides that a legal notice may be published in a newspaper having general circulation within the county. The bill takes effect August 8, 2012, assuming the General Assembly adjourns May 9, 2012, as scheduled, and no referendum petition is filed.

 

02/21/2012 House Third Reading Passed

Florida

 

HB 481   / SB 230

 

Provides requirements for storage of electronic filings; requires papers & electronic filings to be electronically time stamped; authorizes clerk to remove sealed or expunged court records from Official Records; revises language concerning exemption from charges for services provided to specified officials & their staffs; increases threshold amount for automatic repayment of overpayments; provides for access to clerks’ files by state agencies & exemption from copying fees & charges; limits application of exemption from payment of fees & charges assessed by clerks of circuit courts to official use; authorizes use of electronic proof of publication affidavits; requires certain persons to provide specific information to clerk to maintain public records exemption status of certain information; authorizes clerk to issue refund to depositor for redeemed property subject to tax sale.

 

HB 481 On Committee agenda– Judiciary Committee, 02/22/12, 8:00 am, 404 HOB

 

SB 860 02/17/2012 Senate • On Committee agenda– Governmental Oversight and Accountability, 02/22/12, 12:30 pm, 110 Senate Office Building

 

Public Fairs and Exposition

 

SB 502HB 449

 

Public fairs and expositions; reduces the description information that a newspaper notice must contain

 

SB 502 02/22/2012 Senate • Pending reference review -under Rule 4.7(2) – (Committee Substitute)

 

HB 449 02/20/2012 House • Placed on Special Order Calendar, 02/22/12

 

 

SB 292HB 937 (Identical Bills)

 

Legal Notices: Requiring that, after a specified date, if a legal notice is published in a newspaper, the newspaper publishing the notice shall also place the notice on a website maintained by the newspaper; revising physical requirements for proof of publication affidavits; authorizing electronic affidavits that meet specified requirements; limiting the rate that may be charged for government notices required to be published more than once in certain circumstances; requiring that website publication of certain legal notices include maps that appear in the newspaper advertisements; making it optional for the Chief Financial Officer to advertise the availability of the governmental efficiency hotline, etc.

 

SB 292: Now in Budget Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development Appropriations

 

HB 937: Last Event: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 – Now in Economic Affairs Committee

 

Hawaii

 

SB 2233

 

Requires government agencies to disseminate publications of notice electronically; provides the option of additional supplemental notice in a daily or weekly publication of statewide circulation or in a daily or weekly publication in the affected county, as appropriate; appropriates funds for the operational expenses of the office of information management technology; electronic notice requirement effective 1/1/2013.

 

2/16/2012 S Report adopted; Passed Second Reading, as amended (SD 1) and referred to WAM.

 

SB 2219

 

Authorizes government agencies to publish notices electronically or online on the state or county official government websites in lieu of publication in a newspaper or other written publication.

 

 

2/8/2012 S The committee on EDT deferred the measure.

 

HB 2456  / SB 2718

 

Allows government agencies to publish notices electronically on the official government websites in lieu of publication in a newspaper or other written publication.

 

HB 2456 2/14/2012 H The committee(s) on FIN recommend(s) that the measure be deferred.

 

SB 2718 1/25/2012 S Referred to EDT/PGM, JDL.

 

Maryland

 

AB 1335 / SB 599

 

Authorizing a county or municipality to satisfy a requirement to publish legal notices in a newspaper of general circulation by posting the notices on its Web site; requiring notices posted on a county or municipality Web site to be conspicuously displayed and be easily accessible; requiring a county or municipality that chooses to post notices on the Internet to publish specified advance notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or municipality and to offer a specified mail service; etc.

 

AB 1335 2/16/12 First Reading House Rules and Executive Nominations

 

SB 599 Hearing 3/6 at 1:00 p.m.

 

Minnesota

 

HF 1954

 

Counties and cities required to report additional budgetary information on a website.  If no website, then must publish information in newspaper

 

02/22/2012 Referred by Chair to

 

Rhode Island

 

SB 2255

 

This act would allow the owner of a storage unit to take action five (5) days after default and would expand the public notice requirement to include advertisement of sale on a website in addition to newspaper and would also provide clauses to be included in the rental agreement.

 

Filed 1/27/12

 

Tennessee

 

HB 2835

 

Newspapers and Publications – As introduced, requires notices of foreclosures, land sales, transactions involving real property and other legal notices required by statute be publicized by either publishing notice in certain local newspapers or posting notice on certain web sites.

 

Filed for Introduction 1/19/12

 

SB 2665HB 2720 (Identical Bills)

 

Railroads – As introduced, adds Chattanooga to the list of cities in which public notice by newspaper must be provided prior to any meeting of a railroad company’s stockholders to approve the issuance of bonds and stock

 

SB 2665: P2C, ref. to S. T&S Comm. 01/25/2012

 

HB 2720: Intro., P1C. 01/19/2012

 

SB 3430HB 3795 (Identical Bills)

 

Open Meetings – As introduced, requires notice of government operations committee sunset hearings be posted on the comptroller and general assembly web sites, deleting the current requirement that such notice be published in newspapers of general circulation. – Amends TCA Title 4, Chapter 29.

SB 3430  Action Def. in S. Govt. Ops. Comm. to last cal. 02/15/2012

 

HB 3795 Placed on s/c cal S&LG Subcommittee for 2/22/2012

 

SB 3355HB 2835

 

Newspapers and Publications – As introduced, requires notices of foreclosures, land sales, transactions involving real property and other legal notices required by statute be publicized by either publishing notice in certain local newspapers or posting notice on certain web sites. –

SB 3355: P2C, ref. to S. S&L Govt. Comm. 02/01/2012

 

HB 2835: Intro., P1C. 01/23/2012

 

Virginia

 

HB 222/  SB664 (Identical Bills)

 

Advertisement of legal notices on web sites, radio or television. Bill alters language from “also” to “may” be published on the locality’s World Wide Web site or advertised on radio or television.

 

HB: 01/13/12 House Tabled

 

SB: 01/20/12  Senate: Presented and ordered printed 12102508D

 

HB 623SB 566 (Identical Bills)

 

Elections, administrative matters, and duties of the electoral board and general registrar.  Provides for certain administrative efficiencies: permits general registrar to administer oath to voting equipment custodians; clarifies method to give notice of change in location of general registrar’s office; modernizes procedures to give public notice of registration times and primaries; and permits absentee ballot envelopes to be opened before election day so long as the ballots are placed in a secure ballot container and no count is initiated.

 

HB 623: 02/21/12  Senate: Reported from Privileges and Elections with amendments (15-Y 0-N)

 

SB 566: 02/21/12  House: Subcommittee recommends reporting (7-Y 0-N)

 

HB 234

 

Abbreviated advertising for timeshare foreclosed properties.  Changes the newspaper advertisement requirements for the sale of foreclosed timeshare properties. Refers parties to a website which lists all pertinent information in lieu of a full printing in the newspaper advertisement.

 

02/15/12  Senate: Referred to Committee on General Laws and Technology

 

HB 1193

 

Public procurement; posting by local public bodies of procurement opportunities.  Requires local public bodies to post required procurement notices on the Department of General Services’ central electronic procurement website and makes newspaper publication optional. Currently, only state public bodies are required to post procurement notices on the Department of General Services’ central electronic procurement website.

 

02/15/12  Senate: Referred to Committee on General Laws and Technology

 

HB 1216

 

Advertisement of proposed zoning amendments.  Provides that when a proposed amendment to the zoning ordinance involves a tract of land owned by the Commonwealth or by the federal government, and when the proposed change affects only a portion of the larger tract, notice need be given only to the owners of those properties that are adjacent to the affected area of the larger tract.

 

02/09/12  Senate: Referred to Committee on Local Government

Wisconsin

AB 548

Under this bill, all legal notices must be published in Arial type face and a standard line rate applies for all publications.  The bill eliminates the minimum rate and requires the standard line rate to be reviewed annually.  In addition, under the bill, any newspaper that publishes a legal notice must also place an electronic copy of the legal notice, at no additional charge, on a Web site that is maintained by Wisconsin newspapers for the purpose of maintaining an electronic version of printed and published legal notices. For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate which will be printed as an appendix to this bill.

2/16/2012 Asm. Fiscal estimate received

News

Arizona

Prescott News, Op-Ed HB 2403 is Dead (2.20.12)

Ohio

WTRF.com, State of Ohio Launches Public Notice Website (2.20.12)

Maryland

Explore Harford.com, Hartford Charter board suggests new planning elements (2.20.12)

Arizona

Enter Stage Right, Newspapers defend their crony capitalism (2.20.12)

Florida

Historic City News, Posting of Public Notices on Websites (2.18.12)

Massachusetts

Nieman Journalism Lab, Proud not to have a website until the owner sees a profitable end game (2.17.12)

Alabama

Advertiser, Bill sets new standards for newspaper legal notice publication (2.17.12)

California

LTN Law Technology News, Law Librarians Push for the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (2.17.12)

New York Times, Audit Uncovers Extensive Flaws in Foreclosures (2.15.12)

National

MSNBC.com, AZ panel rejects online choice on public notice (2.17.12)

Florida

St. Augustine, Our View Bad public notice bill dead good one moves forward (2.16.12)

Hawaii

Hawaii News Daily, US Customs and Border protection Wants Discretion To Eliminate Newspaper Notice (2.16.12)

Virginia

The News & Advance, Public a Key Adjective in Public Notice (2.13.12)

The News Virginia,  Public notices should continue to be printed (2.12.12)

National

Quill Online, Government Relations Toolbox, Help defend paid public notice (2.6.12)

PC World Business Center, FCC Map Large Areas Not Covered by Mobile Broadband (2.10.12)

Poynter, New revenue threat looms as newspapers Legal notice franchise comes under fresh pressure from cash-strapped states (1.19.12)

Virginia

Richmond Times-Dispatch, Changes to public notices laws up for debate (2.5.12)

Utah

The Salt Lake Tribune, Open meetings bill too hot to handle (2.6.12)

Hawaii

Hawaii Reporter, Newspapers Fight Electronic Legal Ads (2.3.12)

Arizona

Prescott News, It is time to allow Public Notices to be published online (2.8.12)

Cronkite News, Publishers lawmakers wrangle over future of printed public notices (2.3.12)

AZ Capitol Times, Mandate for printed public notices debated (2.2.12)

Ohio

Cleveland Law Library Weblog, New State Public Notice Site to Be Launched in Early February (2.2.12)

Virginia

Altavista Journal, An editorial Public notice bills threaten citizens right to know (2.1.12)

 

© Copyright 2012 Public Notice Resource Center. All rights reserved.

www.pnrc.net

P.O. Box 5337 – Arlington, VA – 22205

info@pnrc.net – (p) 703.237.9806 – (f) 703.237.9808

February 2012

 

Trust Web Sites After Anonymous Attacks?

 

Two weeks ago, Anonymous, a self-described “hacktivist group” unleashed a digital attack that disabled many federal government websites in retaliation for authorities’ seizing Megaupload, a popular website.   Megaupload is accused of knowingly aiding and abetting copyright infringement.  It allows users to transfer and receive large files—like movies and music—anonymously.  These transactions go unchecked and the number of transfers unknown.   It is accused of causing $500 million in damages to copyright owners and making $175 million by selling premium subscriptions and ads.

 

With hacktivism demonstrating its ability to cause disruption, are websites secure enough to be used as a venue to distribute information?  Anonymous was able to easily disable websites operated by the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Copyright Office, and the Motion Picture Association of America, among others, by simply bombarding the websites with Internet traffic.  During the attacks, the information located on those websites was inaccessible and the websites were inoperable to the public for a period of time.   To an innocent user, if time sensitive information is needed during a hacktivist attack, the user would not have access to that information nor know when the information would be available.  If the public has to strictly rely on websites for information, the public is vulnerable to hacktivists because they can disrupt communications by controlling what and when information is posted on websites.

 

News Covering Hack -Attacks

Washington Post, Commerce agency system infected by virus may be victim of cyber-attack (2.3.12)

National Journal, Hackers Claim Responsibility for Temporarily Felling CBS.com After Attacking DoJ Site (1.23.12)

Time, 10 Sites Skewered by Anonymous Including FBI DOJ US Copyright Office (1.20.12)

N.Y Times, 7 Charged as F.B.I. Closes a Top File-Sharing Site, (1.20.12)

Houston Chronicle, It’s war! Mega Upload, the Feds, Anonymous and mutually assured destruction, (1.20.12)

 

Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act

On February 6, the American Bar Association will be asked to endorse a proposed uniform law aiming at new standards for state government websites that host legal materials. The Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act (UELMA) is proposed by the Uniform Laws Commission because some states are abandoning the public printings of statutes, regulations and case law.  PNRC continues to express concerns, even after submitting a comment letter with the American Court & Commercial Newspapers on February 22, 2011.   On January 18, 2012, ACCN sent another letter reiterating its concern to the chair of the House of Delegates of the ABA.

 

Further, even within the ABA there is growing debate about passing UELMA.  On February 1, Charles D. Tobin, chair of the ABA’s Forum on Communications law, distributed a memorandum to all the ABA delegates expressing the committee’s concerns about UELMA.

 

These letters are located on www.pnrc.net.

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Take hard look at proposed law before encouraging ABA blessing (1.24.12)

Proposed Bills

 

Alabama

 

SB 73

 

This bill would require newspapers accepting legal notices, in addition to publishing the legal notice in print, to publish the legal notice on an Internet website if the newspaper maintains an Internet website.

 

Bill Status:  Pre filed on 11/30/11

 

A hearing on the bill cannot occur until after the beginning of the legislative session, which starts 2/07/12.

 

Arizona

 

HB 2371

 

Unclaimed property: Changes owner notification in newspaper: publication of property valued at more than one hundred fifty dollars.

 

Judiciary Committee passed the bill on 2/2/12

 

HB 2403

 

39-301. Notices using the worldwide web

 

If publication of a notice in a newspaper is directed or authorized by law, notwithstanding any other law, the person responsible for publishing the notice may publish the notice in a newspaper or may provide notice at a designated site on a worldwide public network of interconnected computers for at least the specified number of days or weeks prescribed by the law.

 

Technology and Infrastructure      2/9/2012 9:00 A.M. HHR 1

 

Florida

 

HB 481

 

Provides requirements for storage of electronic filings; requires papers & electronic filings to be electronically time stamped; authorizes clerk to remove sealed or expunged court records from Official Records; revises language concerning exemption from charges for services provided to specified officials & their staffs; increases threshold amount for automatic repayment of overpayments; provides for access to clerks’ files by state agencies & exemption from copying fees & charges; limits application of exemption from payment of fees & charges assessed by clerks of circuit courts to official use; authorizes use of electronic proof of publication affidavits; requires certain persons to provide specific information to clerk to maintain public records exemption status of certain information; authorizes clerk to issue refund to depositor for redeemed property subject to tax sale.

 

01/13/2012 House • Now in Justice Appropriations Subcommittee -HJ 226

 

Public Fairs and Exposition

 

 

SB 292HB 937 (Identical Bills)

 

Legal Notices: Requiring that, after a specified date, if a legal notice is published in a newspaper, the newspaper publishing the notice shall also place the notice on a website maintained by the newspaper; revising physical requirements for proof of publication affidavits; authorizing electronic affidavits that meet specified requirements; limiting the rate that may be charged for government notices required to be published more than once in certain circumstances; requiring that website publication of certain legal notices include maps that appear in the newspaper advertisements; making it optional for the Chief Financial Officer to advertise the availability of the governmental efficiency hotline, etc.

 

SB 292: 01/18/12 S Now in Judiciary -SJ 214 on Wednesday, January 18, 2012 10:40 AM

 

HB 937: Last Event: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 – Now in Economic Affairs Committee

 

SB 646/HB 715 (Identical Bills)

 

Self-service Storage Facilities: Revising notice requirements relating to enforcing an owner’s lien; authorizing notice by e-mail or first-class mail, along with a certificate of mailing; providing requirements for e-mail notice; revising provisions relating to when notice given is presumed delivered; requiring rental agreements and applications for rental agreements to contain a provision for the disclosure of the applicant’s membership in the uniformed services, etc.

 

SB 646: 01/23/2012 Senate • Now in Judiciary -SJ 253

 

HB 715: Last Event: Monday, January 23, 2012 – 1st Reading

 

 

Hawaii

 

SB 2233

 

Requires government agencies to disseminate publications of notice electronically; provides the option of additional supplemental notice in a daily or weekly publication of statewide circulation or in a daily or weekly publication in the affected county, as appropriate; appropriates funds for the operational expenses of the office of information management technology; electronic notice requirement effective 1/1/2013.

 

1/23/2012 S Referred to EDT/PGM/JDL, WAM.

 

SB 2219

 

Authorizes government agencies to publish notices electronically or online on the state or county official government websites in lieu of publication in a newspaper or other written publication.

 

1/23/2012 S Referred to EDT/PGM/JDL, WAM.

 

SB 877

 

Provides that online publication of notice in an online news publication meeting certain requirements is sufficient to meet the requirement that notice be published in a newspaper of general circulation.

 

12/1/2011 D Carried over to 2012 Regular Session.

 

SB 765HB 373 (Identical Bills)

 

Clarifies requirements for adequate public notice of an invitation for bids and request for proposals.

 

SB 765: 12/1/2011 D Carried over to 2012 Regular Session.

HB 373: 12/1/2011 D Carried over to 2012 Regular Session.

 

Minnesota

 

HF 1954

 

Counties and cities required to report additional budgetary information on a website.  If no website, then must publish information in newspaper

 

01/26/2012, Introduction and first reading, referred to Government Operations and Elections

 

New Jersey

 

AB 360

 

This bill amends the definition of “adequate notice” and the requirements for holding a public meeting in the “Senator Byron M. Baer Open Public Meetings Act” to provide that a public body must post the required information on the official Internet website of the public body, if one exists, in addition to publishing a notice in two local newspapers, and in accordance with the applicable deadlines and standards for adequate notice set forth in the definition of “adequate notice.”  Currently, a public body must publish the notice in two newspapers to meet the standards for adequate notice, and no notice on the Internet is required.

 

1/10/2012 Introduced, Referred to Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee

 

AB 1618

 

Permits publication of legal notices by governments and individuals on official government website instead of newspaper.

 

Bill Status: 1/10/2012 Introduced, Referred to Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee

 

 

SB 1129

 

1/23/2012 Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee

 

Bill Status: 1/23/2012 Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee

 

Ohio

 

SB 234

 

Requires the officer taking lands and tenements in execution to give public notice of the date, time, and place of the sale of the lands and tenements for at least three weeks before the day of sale either by advertisement in a newspaper published in and of general circulation in the county (existing law) or by advertisement on a web site maintained or made available by the county.

 

Bill Status: Introduced on 10/4/11

 

Rhode Island

 

SB 2255

 

This act would allow the owner of a storage unit to take action five (5) days after default and would expand the public notice requirement to include advertisement of sale on a website in addition to newspaper and would also provide clauses to be included in the rental agreement.

 

Filed 1/27/12

 

Tennessee

 

HB 2835

 

Newspapers and Publications – As introduced, requires notices of foreclosures, land sales, transactions involving real property and other legal notices required by statute be publicized by either publishing notice in certain local newspapers or posting notice on certain web sites.

 

Filed for Introduction 1/19/12

 

SB 2665HB 2720 (Identical Bills)

 

Railroads – As introduced, adds Chattanooga to the list of cities in which public notice by newspaper must be provided prior to any meeting of a railroad company’s stockholders to approve the issuance of bonds and stock

 

SB 2665: P2C, ref. to S. T&S Comm. 01/25/2012

HB 2720: Intro., P1C. 01/19/2012

 

SB 2475HB 2610

 

Open Meetings – As introduced, requires notice of government operations committee sunset hearings be posted on the division of state audit web site, deleting the current requirement that such notice be published in newspapers of general circulation. – Amends TCA Title 4, Chapter 29.

SB 2475: P2C, ref. to S. S&L Govt. Comm. 01/19/2012

HB 2610: Intro., P1C. 01/18/2012

 

SB 3430HB 3795 (Identical Bills)

 

Open Meetings – As introduced, requires notice of government operations committee sunset hearings be posted on the comptroller and general assembly web sites, deleting the current requirement that such notice be published in newspapers of general circulation. – Amends TCA Title 4, Chapter 29.

SB 3430  Placed on S. Govt. Ops. Comm. cal. for 2/8/2012

HB 3795 Intro., P1C. 02/01/2012

 

SB 3355HB 2835

 

Newspapers and Publications – As introduced, requires notices of foreclosures, land sales, transactions involving real property and other legal notices required by statute be publicized by either publishing notice in certain local newspapers or posting notice on certain web sites. –

SB 3355: P2C, ref. to S. S&L Govt. Comm. 02/01/2012

HB 2835: Intro., P1C. 01/23/2012

 

 

Virginia

 

Please Note:  There are a total of nine public notice bills in Virginia.

 

HB 773

 

Local government; publication of notices for charter changes, referenda, and public hearings, etc.; alternatives. Gives localities alternatives to publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the locality for legal ads and other notices of proposed action. These alternatives include publication in at least two of the following forms of publication: (i) in a newspaper of general circulation in the locality, including such newspaper’s online publication, if any; (ii) on the locality’s website; (iii) on any public access channel operated by the locality, to be aired during prime-time programming and at least two other times during the day; (iv) using any automated voice or text alert systems used by the locality; or (v) posting at the local public library established pursuant to § 42.1-33, if any.

 

Bill Status: 01/17/12  House: Assigned CC & T sub: #2

 

HB 222/  SB664 (Identical Bills)

 

Advertisement of legal notices on web sites, radio or television. Bill alters language from “also” to “may” be published on the locality’s World Wide Web site or advertised on radio or television.

 

HB: 01/13/12 House Tabled

SB: 01/20/12  Senate: Presented and ordered printed 12102508D

 

HB 812

 

Historic district notices.  Eliminates the requirement that the Department of Historic Resources publish a notice of a public hearing on the designation or nomination of a historic district in a newspaper once a week for two successive weeks.

 

01/11/12 House: Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources

 

HB 623SB 566 (Identical Bills)

 

 

Elections, administrative matters, and duties of the electoral board and general registrar.  Provides for certain administrative efficiencies: permits general registrar to administer oath to voting equipment custodians; clarifies method to give notice of change in location of general registrar’s office; modernizes procedures to give public notice of registration times and primaries; and permits absentee ballot envelopes to be opened before election day so long as the ballots are placed in a secure ballot container and no count is initiated.

 

HB 623: 01/16/12 House: Assigned P & E sub: Elections Subcommittee

 

SB 566: 01/19/12 Senate: Assigned to P&E sub: Campaigns and Elections

 

 

HB 234

 

Abbreviated advertising for timeshare foreclosed properties.  Changes the newspaper advertisement requirements for the sale of foreclosed timeshare properties. Refers parties to a website which lists all pertinent information in lieu of a full printing in the newspaper advertisement.

 

01/13/12 House: Assigned Courts sub: Civil

 

HB 1193

 

Public procurement; posting by local public bodies of procurement opportunities.  Requires local public bodies to post required procurement notices on the Department of General Services’ central electronic procurement website and makes newspaper publication optional. Currently, only state public bodies are required to post procurement notices on the Department of General Services’ central electronic procurement website.

 

01/20/12  House: Assigned GL sub: #2 FOIA/Procurement

 

HB 1216

 

Advertisement of proposed zoning amendments.  Provides that when a proposed amendment to the zoning ordinance involves a tract of land owned by the Commonwealth or by the federal government, and when the proposed change affects only a portion of the larger tract, notice need be given only to the owners of those properties that are adjacent to the affected area of the larger tract.

 

01/19/12 House: Committee Referral Pending

 

News

Mississippi

A response by Haley Barbour, former governor of Mississippi, addressing the controversy over pardons he issued towards the end of his term in office.   A requirement for public notice prior to the pardons brought notice squarely into the national coverage.

Washington Post, Why I freed 26 inmates (1.19.12)

Arizona

AZ Capitol Times, Mandate for printed public notices debated (2.2.12)

Ohio

Cleveland Law Library Weblog, New State Public Notice Site to Be Launched in Early February (2.2.12)

Virginia

Altavistic Journal, An editorial Public notice bills threaten citizens right to know (2.1.12)

Florida

Historic City News, Mike Weinstein needs to vote like a Republican (2.1.12)

Arizona

The Arizona Daily Star, Keep public notices in newspapers where they’ve proven effective for years (2.1.12)

Florida

Sunshine State News, Online Foreclosure Notices Fail in House Committee (2.1.12)

Miami Herald, Siding with newspapers House kills moving foreclosure notices to web (1.31.12)

Arizona

Yuma Sun, Easy to see through public notices position (1.30.12)

National

AARP, A Threat to Open Government (1.1.12)

Virginia

The Daily Progress, The notion of printed notices (1.29.12)

Tennessee

Post-Intelligencer, It is the public’s right to know (1.27.12)

Elizabethton Star, Public notices should be kept where public can find them (1.26.12)

Florida

JacksonSon, Public notices should be kept where public easily can find them (1.25.12)

Arizona

Sonoran Alliance, Time to Support HB 2403 Online Public Notices (1.24.12)

Guam

Guampdn.com, Change Senators must fix the lack of public notice in rezoning legislation (1.24.12)

Virginia

Tricities.com, Va legislators should say no to government secrecy (1.21.12)

The Roanolve Times, Do not skip printed public notices (1.23.12)

Mississippi

Washington Post, Why I freed 26 inmates (1.19.12)

National

Time, 10 Sites Skewered by Anonymous Including FBI DOJ US Copyright Office (1.20.12)

Mississippi

The Columbus Dispatch, Barbour defends pardon decisions (1.19.12)

Florida

The Ledger.com, Newspapers Putting Foreclosure Ads on Web Would Hurt Poor Elderly (12.5.11)

© Copyright 2012 Public Notice Resource Center. All rights reserved.

Highlights for December 2011 and January 2012

Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act

On February 6, the American Bar Association will be asked to endorse a proposed uniform law aiming at new standards for state government websites that host legal materials. The Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act (UELMA) is proposed by the Uniform Laws Commission because some states are abandoning the public printings of statutes, regulations and case law.  PNRC continues to express concerns, even after submitting a comment letter with the American Court & Commercial Newspapers on February 22, 2011.  ACCN has sent a letter to the chair of the House of Delegates of the ABA reiterating its concerns.

Although the ULC did address a couple of the issues raised, PNRC continues to believe the UELMA has flaws.

UELMA is silent on which tools and practices states must use to authenticate electronically posted legal material.

  • UELMA unfairly places the burden to disprove the accuracy of electronic legal material published by states on parties challenging such material.
  • UELMA does not encourage continuation of printed versions as a way of mitigating risk from the digitized versions.
  • Much in UELMA assumes states will use common sense approaches to developing web sites, funding them, providing authentication and archiving.
  • UELMA will link the lowest-performing states with best practices states in a reciprocity agreement that requires a presumption of authenticity of the materials.

We believe that if the ABA endorses the UELMA, states may then start adopting this uniform Act blindly and without a clear understanding of the costs involved. UELMA reflects considerable thought and leadership from the Commission drafters.  But it does not set standards where standards are needed. Instead it articulates goals and trusts states to achieve them.

UELMA would have been better positioned as a model law that states could use to establish their own best practices.

 Mississippi

 Towards the end of Gov. Haley Barbour’s term as governor, he granted nearly 200 pardons, including those to a handful of murders.   The Mississippi Constitution states that prisoners convicted of felonies must publish a request for pardon in local newspapers for 30 days before they can be officially pardoned and released. (Art. 5, Sec. 124)  The burden of noticing the public falls on the applicant who is requesting the pardon.  Many of those who received pardons did not comply with the public notice requirements, according to Mississippi Press Association.

An excellent summary of the situation is located in the Sun Herald Op-Ed, “Issuance of pardons is a very public matter,” written by Layne Bruce, executive director of the Mississippi Press Association.

 

It is also noteworthy that only two other states have a public notice requirement similar to Mississippi: Idaho and Maryland

 

MSNBC.com, Pardon Power Varies Widely

 New Jersey

A public notice bill that many viewed as dormant came alive on January 6, nearly a year after it received criticism from the media.  Fortunately, the bill died on January 9, the last day of the 2011 legislative session. A good summary of the situation is in the Star-Ledger editorial, located below.  The circumstances in New Jersey are a reminder that pending legislation is unpredictable and that it is important never to assume an inactive bill is dead

Star-Ledger, Legal notice bill a sneak attack on N.J. newspapers (1.9.12)

 Wisconsin  

 We anticipate that a public notice bill will be introduced in the Wisconsin legislature in the coming weeks.  Part of that bill will require any newspaper publishing a legal notice must also place an electronic copy of the legal notice, at no charge, on a website that is maintained by  Wisconsin newspapers for the purpose of maintaining an electronic version of printed and published public notice.

 State Bills

 Alabama

SB 73

This bill would require newspapers accepting legal notices, in addition to publishing the legal notice in print, to publish the legal notice on an Internet website if the newspaper maintains an Internet website.

Bill Status:  Pre filed on 11/30/11

A hearing on the bill cannot occur until after the beginning of the legislative session, which starts 2/07/12.

Florida

HB 481

 Provides requirements for storage of electronic filings; requires papers & electronic filings to be electronically time stamped; authorizes clerk to remove sealed or expunged court records from Official Records; revises language concerning exemption from charges for services provided to specified officials & their staffs; increases threshold amount for automatic repayment of overpayments; provides for access to clerks’ files by state agencies & exemption from copying fees & charges; limits application of exemption from payment of fees & charges assessed by clerks of circuit courts to official use; authorizes use of electronic proof of publication affidavits; requires certain persons to provide specific information to clerk to maintain public records exemption status of certain information; authorizes clerk to issue refund to depositor for redeemed property subject to tax sale.

Bill Status: Now in Justice Appropriations Subcommittee on Friday, January 13, 2012 1:49 PM

Public Fairs and Exposition

 SB 502

 The language below slightly amends the notice of application information that is published in newspapers.   We will continue to follow this bill because the section on newspaper notification is being reviewed and additional amendments could follow.

A notice of intention to apply to the circuit court

236  judge for the charter of a fair association must specify,

237  stating the date that time when the application will be made,

238  shall be sent to the department for approval, and then shall be

239  published in a newspaper in the county where the principal

240  office of the association will is to be located once each week

241  for  4 consecutive weeks. The notice must, setting forth briefly

242  summarize the charter and objectives objects of the proposed

243  association to be formed.

Bill Status:   Community Affairs read 1st time, SJ 103 on Tuesday, Jan, 10, 2012

SB 230/HB 149  (Identical Bills)

Website Notice of Foreclosure Action: Providing that a legal publication, advertisement, or notice of foreclosure action may be placed on a publicly accessible Internet website of a clerk of court in lieu of publication in any other form of media; providing criteria for the publicly accessible Internet website; providing for user access to the website; providing for access by clerks of court and chief judges; providing requirements for the website provider; providing posting requirements; authorizing the clerk of court to contract with a publicly accessible Internet website provider; providing for terms and revenue sharing in the contract; providing for notice of foreclosure action to be posted on a publicly accessible Internet website, etc

SB 230: Last Event: 01/10/12 S Introduced -SJ 25 on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 8:28 AM

HB 149: Last Event: 1st Reading on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 11:59 PM

 SB 292HB 937 (Identical Bills)

 Legal Notices: Requiring that, after a specified date, if a legal notice is published in a newspaper, the newspaper publishing the notice shall also place the notice on a website maintained by the newspaper; revising physical requirements for proof of publication affidavits; authorizing electronic affidavits that meet specified requirements; limiting the rate that may be charged for government notices required to be published more than once in certain circumstances; requiring that website publication of certain legal notices include maps that appear in the newspaper advertisements; making it optional for the Chief Financial Officer to advertise the availability of the governmental efficiency hotline, etc.

 SB 292: Bill Status: 01/18/12 S Now in Judiciary -SJ 214 on Wednesday, January 18, 2012 10:40 AM

HB 937: Bill Status: Added to State Affairs Committee agenda on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 4:14 PM

 SB 646/HB 715 (Identical Bills)

 Self-service Storage Facilities: Revising notice requirements relating to enforcing an owner’s lien; authorizing notice by e-mail or first-class mail, along with a certificate of mailing; providing requirements for e-mail notice; revising provisions relating to when notice given is presumed delivered; requiring rental agreements and applications for rental agreements to contain a provision for the disclosure of the applicant’s membership in the uniformed services, etc.

 SB 646: Bill Status: 01/13/12 S On Committee agenda– Regulated Industries, 01/19/12, 8:15 am, 110 Senate Office Building on Friday, January 13, 2012 11:17 AM

 HB 715: Bill Status: On agenda for: 01/18/12 8:30 AM   Notice

Ohio

 SB 234

 Requires the officer taking lands and tenements in execution to give public notice of the date, time, and place of the sale of the lands and tenements for at least three weeks before the day of sale either by advertisement in a newspaper published in and of general circulation in the county (existing law) or by advertisement on a web site maintained or made available by the county.

Bill Status: Introduced on 10/4/11

 Virginia

HB 773

Local government; publication of notices for charter changes, referenda, and public hearings, etc.; alternatives. Gives localities alternatives to publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the locality for legal ads and other notices of proposed action. These alternatives include publication in at least two of the following forms of publication: (i) in a newspaper of general circulation in the locality, including such newspaper’s online publication, if any; (ii) on the locality’s website; (iii) on any public access channel operated by the locality, to be aired during prime-time programming and at least two other times during the day; (iv) using any automated voice or text alert systems used by the locality; or (v) posting at the local public library established pursuant to § 42.1-33, if any.

Bill Status: 01/11/12  House: Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/11/12 12102589D

HB 222

Advertisement of legal notices on web sites, radio or television. Bill alters language from “also” to “may” be published on the locality’s World Wide Web site or advertised on radio or television.

Bill Status: 01/13/12 House: Assigned Courts sub: Civil

HB 812

Historic district notices.  Eliminates the requirement that the Department of Historic Resources publish a notice of a public hearing on the designation or nomination of a historic district in a newspaper once a week for two successive weeks.

Bill Status: 01/11/12 House: Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources

HB 623

Elections, administrative matters, and duties of the electoral board and general registrar.  Provides for certain administrative efficiencies: permits general registrar to administer oath to voting equipment custodians; clarifies method to give notice of change in location of general registrar’s office; modernizes procedures to give public notice of registration times and primaries; and permits absentee ballot envelopes to be opened before election day so long as the ballots are placed in a secure ballot container and no count is initiated.

Bill Status: 01/16/12 House: Assigned P & E sub: Elections Subcommittee

 HB 234

Abbreviated advertising for timeshare foreclosed properties.  Changes the newspaper advertisement requirements for the sale of foreclosed timeshare properties. Refers parties to a website which lists all pertinent information in lieu of a full printing in the newspaper advertisement.

 Bill Status:  01/13/12 House: Assigned Courts sub: Civil

 Wisconsin

Mining applications

AB 24

Current law requires Department of Natural Resources to publish a newspaper notice containing specified
information relating to certain laws that it administers. The types of notices that
DNR must publish include notices of scheduled hearings, of the opportunity to
submit a written comment, and of the opportunity to request a public hearing and
notices that provide certain other information to the public. Instead of publishing these notices in newspapers, this bill allows DNR to post notices on its Internet site.

Bill Status:  10/26/11 Public Hearing held

ARTICLES

Louisiana

Nola.com, New Orleans recreation director search committee meeting is canceled (1.17.12)

(Lack of public notice required the meeting to be canceled)

Maryland

Cumberland Times, Public notices in print keep the public informed (1.14.12)

National

MSNBC, Pardon power varies widely (1.13.12)

Mississippi

Mississippi Press Association, Issuance of pardons is a very public matter (1.13.12)

Colorado

RH Reporterherald.com, Berthoud voters to face public notice question (1.12.12)

(A voter referendum on whether to allow the local government to fulfill publish notice requirements by publishing on websites)

Mississippi

ABCnews.com, Judge Halts Mississippi Pardons After Uproar (1.12.12)

Indiana

News and Tribune, Bill would fine officials who violate public access law (1.10.12)

Pennsylvania

 

The Times Tribune, Old Forge school board must vote on budget again (1.10.12)

(Meeting where original vote occurred was determined to be invalid because lack of public notice)

New Jersey

Star Ledger Opinion, Legal notice bill a sneak attack on N.J (1.9.12)

NJ.com, Legal ads bill won’t help NJ towns (1.7.12)

Lehighvalleylive.com, NJ Legislature prepares to kill public-notice advertising (1.8.12)

Florida

St. Augustine.com, Public notices in print keep the public informed (1.7.12)

New Jersey

Asbury Park Press, Lawmakers to vote on bill to end legal notice requirement (1.6.12)

New York

The Record, Lack of proper public notice forces City Council to delay organizational meeting (1.6.12)

Virginia

Star-Tribune, Virginia lawmakers could remove public notices from newspapers (1.8.12)

New Mexico

AbqJournal, Editorial 3 Days Public Notice is Good Government (31 Dec 2011)

Wisconsin

KearneyHub.com, Public notices as important as ever (12.19.11)

Alaska

JuneauEmpire.com, JIA board believes it already exceeds public notice standards 15 Dec 2011

Florida  

Public Notice and the Preservation of Liberty (12.11)

Tennessee

The Tennessean, Last thing public needs is more business done in dark (12.4.11)

Ohio

Vindy.com,Preserve publics access to inform on sheriff’s sales (12.2.11)

Maine

The Times Record, Private audience Brown 4 councilors attend closed-door meeting with rail depot foes (11.30.11)

Other News

© Copyright 2012 Public Notice Resource Center. All rights reserved.