Legislative Vote on Bill to Put Legal Notices Online in NJ Unlikely to be made

Legislative Vote on Bill to Put Legal Notices Online in NJ Unlikely to be made

03/11/2011

Leaders of the Senate and the New Jersey Assembly said Friday that the bill allowing government agencies, businesses and citizens to post legal notices online instead of in the newspapers will not be coming up for a vote in the Legislature any time soon.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a Democrat from Gloucester, told The Star-Ledger’s editorial board, “I’m not pushing it at all and I don’t think it’s going to go anywhere.”

Another legislator who put a stake in the heart of the proposal was Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, Democrat from Essex.

A spokesman for the Assembly Democrats, Tom Hester Jr. stated, “After reviewing the bill and issues and questions surrounding it, the Speaker has no plan to post it for a vote.”

Bill S2072 was strongly opposed by newspaper industry leaders who said that it would eliminate around $20 million in yearly revenue for the industry.

The newspaper industry, which has been fighting an economic downturn, as well as the availability of Internet content, has been struggling for many years with steep declines in subscriptions and advertising.

According to the sponsors of the bill, towns could save money if they post their legal notices, such as meetings and other types of legal advertisements on their own websites.

Opponents, however, maintain that since the towns still needs to spend money to maintain their websites, there would be no savings.

While the bill seemed to gain momentum recently and is set to be acted upon in both houses of the Legislature, Senate President Sweeney did not put it up for a vote during Thursday’s Senate session.

Sweeney said that if the bill is enacted, it would lead to loss of jobs.

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com