WAYNE, N.J. – With the last voting session of the year scheduled for Monday, legislation (S2855/A4429) which dismantles a state law requiring legal notices to be printed in newspapers, is slated to be heard Thursday.
The Governor’s office has said Tuesday that more than $80 million is paid annually to newspapers to publish legal notices by taxpayers and private businesses. The figure was derived from an “internal tally of a sampling for daily newspapers”. The Governor’s office did not provide any additional details on these figures.
The bill is an update of a six-year-old proposal that would allow government agencies and municipalities to instead post legal notices on websites. Although the bill has bipartisan support and sponsors in both the Assembly and Senate, NJ.com reported an advocate for municipalities confirmed Tuesday Christie is behind the push to fast track it through the Legislature.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill Brennan called Christie's effort an "Act of retaliation against the newspapers".
Brennan also said he was, "completely against the bill because it eliminates the 3rd party security for the legal notices. They should be expanding public notice not restricting them. Don't substitute for online newspapers, make (online newspapers) an additional requirement to increase clarity”.
The New Jersey Press Association says the bill would deliver a blow to Garden State newspapers and many question if the bill would save towns anything. In September New Jersey Media Group announced it was laying off 200-plus staff, and newspaper advocates say the bill could also lead to the loss of an additional 200-300 newspaper jobs, and spell the end of some titles.