HAT TIP : Legal Notice Blog
CALIFORNIA- Bill To Allow On Line News Orgs to Bid On Publishing Public Notices Reaches Committee - $60 mill at stake
California Redefines "Newspaper of General Circulation"
When the state of California, with over 11% of the nation's population and the largest state budget, considers moving an estimated $60 million of legal notices on line, every state newspaper and on line publication should stand up and take notice.
AB1902 is working it's way through committees and has been voted on unanimoulsy in the affirmative by the Committee on Local Government.
The bill is well crafted. It has wisely NOT suggested the local governments post their own notices. As we've mentioned in past posts the print newspaper lobby have succesfully and properly convinced state legislators in over 20 states that have voted on this issue, that there needs to be an independent watch dog to make sure the notices get published.
California addresses the issue of independence. AB1902 says that on line newspapers (who are doing as good a job of watching the government) can be that watchdog and can compete evenly with the printed press.
Paraphrasing the text of the bill, the bill redefines an on line newspaper which can qualifiy to compete with a printed newspaper if:
- It provides news
- It is updated at least weekly
- It has "substantial readership" in the jurisdiction where they applying to publish the notices
- At least 25 % of the home page space is devoted to local, national or international news
- It links to the public notice page on its home page
- In the analysis of the bill it states that the site must have been in existence for 3 years
Some tightening up of terms that are vague is necessary but this is the first bill that has gotten it right. AB 1902 has succesfully steered clear of mandating that the government be responsible for posting their own notices.
This on line newspaper hosts their notices.
To read how other states are addressing this issue