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Municipalities Hope To Nix Newspaper Legal Notice Requirement; Digital News Orgs Want Market Opened

State Capitol. CTNewsJunkie.com file photo

Towns spend thousands of dollars annually posting legal notices in print publications, while digital news organizations like We-Ha.com in West Hartford have been prevented from serving as the ‘paper of record’ for towns.

By Hugh McQuaid, CTNewsJunkie.com 

Connecticut municipalities launched their continuing effort to scrap a state law requiring them to publish legal notices in newspapers from a novel position this year: the state deferred the law months ago due to the ongoing pandemic.

For years the state has required towns and cities to advertise in local newspapers to give residents notice of things like town meetings, referenda, and ordinance changes. The law is a boon to local papers and an expense on the budgets of towns, who argue they can save money by posting the notices on their websites. Newspapers, meanwhile, contend that not everyone gets their news online and town governments shouldn’t be trusted to follow the notice rules.

But while the debate is a familiar one, lawmakers will consider the issue this year, more than 10 months after Gov. Ned Lamont effectively tabled the law in an executive order designed to help local governments keep running during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During Wednesday’s virtual public hearing of the Planning and Development Committee, town officials told lawmakers the executive order has been a reprieve from a costly mandate.

“All of this has been done, and I think people have been more engaged than ever before in their local government processes and I think this is the time to get this done,” said Betsy Gara, executive director of the Connecticut Council of Small Towns.

Click here to read the complete story on CTNewsJunkie.com, and express your support or opposition for SB 698: AN ACT CONCERNING THE ONLINE PUBLICATION OF LEGAL NOTICES BY MUNICIPALITIES.

Republished with permission from CTNewsJunkie.com, all rights reserved.

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