Controversial Bill On Legal Notices In Newspapers Still Alive At State Capitol

by Categorized: General Assembly, Gov. Dannel Malloy Date:

\"newsrack\"A highly controversial bill that threatened to remove municipal legal notices from newspapers suffered a blow Tuesday, but the bill was still alive Thursday at the Capitol.

The bill was placed on the \”foot\’\’ of the Senate calendar, which means that the Senate will not be voting on the measure in the immediate future and possibly will not vote at all. Traditionally, a bill placed on the \”foot\’\’ of the calendar lacks the necessary support for passage.

But things sometimes change unexpectedly at the Capitol, and it will not be over until the session ends at midnight on June 5. Another bill on the same topic – Senate Bill 1112 – is still alive, and a Senate Democratic spokesman said the bill is still under consideration.

Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, who directs the flow of which bills get called and which don\’t, said on Thursday night that \”there\’s no final decision on it yet.\’\’

State Sen. Steve Cassano, the former mayor of Manchester, has been pushing hard for the bill, and he made an impassioned plea for the measure Wednesday during a closed-door Democratic caucus. The Senate Democrats are apparently split on the controversial issue.

Newspapers around the state have rallied against the bill, which was pushed by cities and towns as an effort to save money. Some municipalities wanted to place the legal notices on their town web sites, thus saving money from publication in newspapers.

But the newspapers struck back with a major advertising campaign, including full-page ads in The Hartford Courant, The Connecticut Post, The New London Day, The New Haven Register, and the Waterbury Republican American. The ads were sponsored by the Connecticut Daily Newspapers Association, which was founded in 1904.

In the most recent ad Monday, The Courant devoted a full page to say, \”No More Back Room Politics\’\’ and \”Don\’t let Connecticut officials remove your right to know from the newspaper.\’\’

The ad continued, \”Public notices are an important tool in assuring an informed citizenry. They have helped develop America into a participatory democracy for hundreds of years and where it counts the most: how your tax dollars are spent, how policy is made and how our futures are charted.\’\’

The advertisement stated that fewer than 10 percent of the population \”views a local, state or federal government website daily.\’\’ By contrast, \”83 percent of adults read a community newspaper every week.\’\’

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7 thoughts on “Controversial Bill On Legal Notices In Newspapers Still Alive At State Capitol

  1. Tpb

    Absurd for towns to pay newspapers for this service when it can be put on a website for free. It’s 2013! 83 percent of adults are reading a newspaper every week now? Doubtful. If newspapers were really concerned about the public’s right to know, they’d print them for free.

  2. LMB

    Agreed. I tried to find information on storage auctions on the Hartford Courant website and it took me 10 minutes to find 2 listings. I did a google search on storage auctions and found links to many sites – I didn’t even count. I opened one and found 27 listings for auctions being held in the next two weeks. So not only are people not going to the newspapers for their information, finding what they need through a search engine is more effective. Legislators need to get with the times and stop catering to a dying industry.

  3. CJF

    Print information and news (newspapers, telephone books) have been almost completely replaced by electronic media (TV, radio and internet. Case in point, have you seen a thin newspaper or phone book lately? Not the robust publications they once were.

    The print publications have been professional and served a great purpose before the faster / on demand information services came along. However times have changed and so must business.

    Holding municipalities hostage to antiquated laws that were enacted when there were no other choices is simply wrong. Its understandable why they would throw money at this problem as legal notices are expensive for advertisers and one of the last profitable aspects of the newspaper industry.

    I support amending the law to allow municipalities to choose where they will advertise. Competition is good for the consumer and citizens alike – so let the newspapers reinvent themselves in an electronic format and compete for this segment of the business.

  4. Midas Mulligan

    I agree on all the comments above. Don’t complain here. Call your representative.

  5. Joe Sixpack

    The Dems want to strike the public notices? Good for them. And hopefully the GOP doesn’t bail out the papers – don’t forget, the papers’ lobbyist took a leave of absence from that job to run Chris Murphy’s PAC in the last election. No media bias there at all….

  6. MikeSteven

    How much would they save with this measure exactly? I would imagine they could find other ways to save more money if they tried. I am not for or against them putting notices in the newspaper. But with the paper there is a recorded history of it while they can always alter the website and take things down “quietly”. I am not sure how easy or hard it would be to track down those changes though on the web.

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