Online Notice Bill Discussed in Maryland Legislature. $6 million -$9 million Could Be Saved
HB 1136 which would allow municipalities to publish legal notices on their own web sites was proposed Feb. 8 and was discussed in a hearing February 28. The bill, by our estimations, could save aggregately $6-$9 million every year. If privately funded notices like foreclosure notices, name changes, litigation and licenses were allowed to be published online, savings would increase to almost $20 million.
"There has been a steady Celine in newspaper readership in the past several decades while at the same time there has been a significant increase in ... access to the internet"
The bill explicitly supports much of what we've been saying:
"Many legal notices published solely in newspapers go unread."
"Many political subdivisions in Maryland will be facing serious fiscal challenges in fiscal 2013."
"Every dollar on public legal notices in newspapers places further stress on local budgets."
Maryland's electorate has been receptive to online legal notices so maybe this bill has a shot. In giving the local governments full control over the creation an publishing of notices, this bill does not, however, solve the lack of independence inherent in having no independent third party whose goal is to publish notices.