Revenge? No more paid legal ads in New Jersey newspapers under new law up for vote

newspapersSome see it as animosity and revenge against New Jersey’s media outlets, while some see it as a cost-saving measure. A new bill making its way through the New Jersey Legislature will allow for towns to publish their legal notices online, instead of paid ads in the newspapers.

The bill, which already received partial legislative approval, is up for vote today.

A Lakewood Township official says he’s in support of this bill, which he says will save money.

“We’ve been posting notices online anyway – this measure will just save us money,” the official said.

Here’s what some are others are saying about the bill.

Senator Sam Thompson:

We can maintain government transparency and save property taxpayers’ money by allowing for free Internet postings of legal notices on town and county websites to replace paid newspaper publication requirements. I have never once read a published legal notice in a newspaper, and I’m willing to bet that most New Jerseyans haven’t either. It’s an archaic requirement that must be updated for the Internet age.”

New Jersey State League Of Municipalities, New Jersey School Board Association, New Jersey Association Of Counties, New Jersey Conference Of Mayors:

“Our non-partisan coalition, which represents school districts, municipalities, and county governments across the State, supports this important and timely legislation as it will provide mayors, school board members, and freeholders with an innovative resource to help deliver essential services in a cost effective manner.”

· “As local governing bodies continue to struggle with a restrictive property tax cap, a declining ratable base, and both underfunded and unfunded State mandates, this permissive legislation will streamline an antiquated process and replace it with a more contemporary method for advertising legal notices that will save valuable taxpayer dollars.

· “In general, current law requires local purchasing officials, clerks, planning departments, improvement authorities, and several others to publish onerous legal notices in various newspaper publications. Such notices typically include contract awards, contract addendums, various legal notices, meeting notices, RFP and RFQ notices, election notices, and much more. Public officials have long decried that publishing these voluminous documents in newspapers is costly, time consuming, and outdated. With this mind, we commend the sponsors for their vision and leadership in sponsoring this long-overdue legislation”

Senator Gerry Cardinale:

“The press is reporting this legislation as some kind of retribution against the media by Governor Christie, but nothing could be farther from the truth.”

· “I’ve been trying for more than 16 years to try to pass this bill that would save property taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. The press has been very effective at using their platform to strong-arm legislators into continuing this unnecessary and expensive corporate welfare. If any other industry received this kind of favoritism at property taxpayers’ expense, editorial page writers would be the first to call for reform.”

· “When local governments started creating their own websites in the 1990s, it quickly became clear that paying for expensive newspaper placements was no longer necessary when public notices could be posted on their own sites for free.

· “Republicans and Democrats have introduced and talked about passing this common-sense legislation regardless of which party was in power for more than 15 years. It’s time has come.”

Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll:

“Legal ads are corporate welfare for newspapers that cost taxpayers and businesses $80 million annually. For over a decade various members of the Legislature from both political parties have proposed making this change.”

· “The sooner this costly requirement is eliminated, the better.”

Downe Township Mayor Robert G. Campbell: “[S-2855] will be an obvious public benefit to reduce the costs for legal advertising to municipalities throughout the state.”

John Wisniewski, who is running for Governor, said this morning “I will be voting NO on Christie’s revenge against newspapers bill.”

If approved today, the bill will head to Governor Christie’s desk.


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  1. Why has it taken this long to fix the system and abolish this unfair tax on New Jerseyans in order to subsidize the rich newspaper moguls?? Let them have to work for their money like the rest of us. Besides, I would rather put all ads on TLS 🙂

  2. This is going to be a great idea. Pass this and all the Politicians that want to hold a secret meeting can advertise in a place that no one reads or knows about. So much for open government.

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