Sunday, February 17, 2013

In Arizona, 2 Online Legal Notice Bills Have Been Passed in Committee


In Arizona, 2 Online Legal Notice Bills Have Been Passed in Committee.

Online Legal Notice Legislation season is well under way as bills are being proposed in several states. (Texas, Michigan, Tennessee, Wyoming, Arizona) and have been shot down in two (Virginia, Indiana) .
One state is showing some creativity in proposing online notice bills.
Arizona's House Technology and Infrastructure Committee passed two bills that could change the way public notices are published. Bill HB 2533 would allow the local governments to post notices on their own websites instead of paying substantially for notices in the newspapers. This is the same wording that has been voted down over 30 times in various states over the past two years. House Bill 2483 , however, has a little more panache and hopefully has a better chance of passing. The bill changes "newspaper" to "public medium" wherever there is a requirement to publish a notice in a newspaper. This bill takes a step in allowing local governments to publish notices online (just maybe not on their own websites) In other words, the legislators are realizing that to get a bill passed, you may need to dictate that an entity other than the government should publish the message but we, as taxpayers don't have to pay newspapers through the nose to have them published in print.
These bills are a long way from becoming law. Both bills must go through two more committees before being voted on by the entire Arizona State House. Then they would need to go to the Senate.
Last year Arizona's House Technology and Infrastructure Committee did not pass the public notice bill proposed. This year, they did, despite some fierce lobbying by the newspaper industry. That's small progress.
HB 2483 doesn't pass for the same reason that similar bills haven't passed any where. People aren't comfortable with giving control over the message and the delivery of the message to the government. But times are changing and the fact that even this bill was approved in committee shows progress.
HB 2533 will have to go through some serious changes prior to passage ... most importantly what defines a "public medium" but its design shows that legislators can be creative in saving the taxpayers money.
To read how other states are addressing this issue Click HERE

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