Friday, January 13, 2012

Florida- Bill To Move Foreclosure Notices Online for 2012 Session

HAT TIP:  LEGAL NOTICE BLOG

Florida- Bill to Move Foreclosure Notices on line introduced for 2012 session . $30 mill. in notice revenue at stake

Florida's Dire Financial Situation Compels Legislators to Come Up with Creative Solutions
SB 230 has been introduced for the 2012 session on January 10. It states that:
A legal publication, advertisement, or notice of foreclosure action required by s.702.035 may be placed on a publicly accessible website of the clerk of court in lieu of publication in any other form of media.
We reported on the introduction of this bill last year. Even though Florida's foreclosure volume has decreased substantially, the business is an estimated $30 million. Much of the foreclosure notice business goes to the Daily Business Review in Miami. By counting the notices it appears that close to $5-$10 million of notices is published in that publication. The owners of The Daily Business Review, Apax Partners (who it is reported has already lost $150 mill. on it's investment) and the Royal Bank of Scotland should be watching the progress of this bill very carefully.
Previous Post about Florida:
4 December 2011-SB 230, sponsored by Sen. Steve Wise, R-Jacksonville, and HB 149 Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, from a high level, appears as most bills do, allowing that foreclosure notices be published on a "publicly accessible web site." In addition, some specifics worth noting have not appeared in the dozens of other bills from other states we have reported.
  • Some highlights as to how The bill defines a "publicly accessible internet web site":
    • Be approved by the Fla. Clerks of Court Operations Corp.
    • Post notices for 90 days (GOOD)
    • Maintain notices for users for 10 years (NO Should be forever - Argument consistently won by newspapers focuses on the infinite ability to refer back to paper forever.)
    • Receive 100K total impressions (seems like an arbitrary number given the stringent requirements of newspapers of record)
    • Maintain 24 hour customer support and telephone support 12 hrs, per day. (Given how lame the customer support is at newspapers, especially the Daily Business Review, this should suffice.)
    • Post in multiple languages (EXCELLENT. All newspapers should cringe from this)
    • The website provider shall publish its affidavits electronically and may use an electronic notary seal. (EXCELLENT)
  • So here's the bad news.
    • There is virtually no cost savings to the banks or person foreclosed on.The outrageous sums of money going to the newspapers (tens of millions of dollars in Florida alone) will just go to a different party other than the newspapers. The whole point should be to lessen the burden on those foreclosed as well as publishing more comprehensive information about the property.
We reported on 2 bills proposed last year to move municipal paid notices out of the newspaper. House Bill 89 died in Government Operations Subcommittee in May of this year. Senate Bill 7204 also reached a Budget Committee where it was never considered.
It seems like committees and subcommittees do all of the dirty work in shooting down bills with no real accountability. No one really reports on what happens in these committees, the government web site just reports "died in subcommittee" with no real disclosure of why. The next level of government disclosure on web sites should be to reveal the minutes of state house committees and subcommittees.

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