Tag Archives: notice

Occupy Nashville Gets Eviction Notice

The Haslam administration gave Occupy Nashville protesters seven days to clear out on Friday, renewing an effort to remove the group’s encampment at the Tennessee Capitol five months after it moved in last fall.
From Chas Sisk’s report:
Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill Friday morning banning unauthorized camping on public grounds, and administration officials moved immediately to put the law into effect, posting 120 signs at state buildings across Tennessee officially warning that campers could be prosecuted.
The administration said it would begin enforcing the new law, which punishes unauthorized camping with up to a $2,500 fine or nearly a year in jail, next week. The law applies to any state property, but it was passed in response to the winter-long encampment by Occupy Nashville protesters on War Memorial Plaza at the state Capitol.
“Although the legislation calls for an immediate prohibition of unauthorized camping on state property, we believe a seven day notification period, beginning today, is an appropriate time frame to make sure the word gets out,” General Services Commissioner Steve Cates said in a statement.

News release below.

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Administration Files Rules to Ban Camping (and Occupy Nashville) at Plaza

While the Legislature is likely to complete its work on a bill that would prohibit camping on the Legislative Plaza Monday night, the enactment of rules with the same objective – launched by Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration — is progressing more slowly.
Formal notice of the proposed rules for use of the plaza area – called War Memorial Plaza in the rules – was filed on Friday. The notice and proposed rules may be found here: LINK.
The rules are fairly detailed, running seven pages. There is a prohibition on “camping or sleeping overnight,” the focus of the Legislature’s proposed new law, but the rules go far beyond to address an array of other activities.
The Haslam administration began the rulemaking process after dozens of Occupy Nashville protesters were arrested in October, only to be freed after judge noted there appeared to be no law or rule on the books that they violated.
Following publication of the rules with notice, there’s now a period during which comments can be offered and some other formalities before they can be put into effect.

Senator Eyes Mandate that All Public Notices Be Published Online (not in newspapers)

State Sen. Bo Watson is considering a change to his bill calling for all public notices in Hamilton County to be published online rather than in newspapers, reports Action Andy Sher. The change would make the arrangement apply statewide.
It would ultimately put notices online provided, Watson said, he can address issues of having them independently published, verifiable, archivable and accessible to the estimated one third of Tennessee households without computers.
“Until I am comfortable in addressing those, whatever legislation might emerge has to address all of those,” Watson said. “I just don’t think it [the city proposal] gets there. But it was a great starting point to learn more about what the concerns were with that legislation.”
Watson said he continues to believe that given increasing use of the Internet and technological changes, the Internet can provide a better and less expensive alternative for notices.
Notices provide the public information about city and county governing bodies’ public meetings as well as zoning matters, public purchases and other areas.
On Tuesday, the Senate State and Local Government Committee held a sometimes-contentious hearing on Watson’s bill and similar legislation by Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, affecting Knox County.
Watson and Campfield sparred with the Tennessee Press Association, which represents 126 paid-circulation newspapers including the Chattanooga Times Free Press, as well as the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, an advocacy group. The groups oppose the bills, which were shuttled off for study after the legislative session.
Campfield questioned continued publication of legal notices in newspapers, arguing the current law requiring newspaper public of public notices amount to a “subsidy” for an industry losing subscribers because of technological change.
Noting efforts by governments to cut costs, Campfield said, “I can’t necessarily say that we’ll be able to find a solution that will keep subsidizing the newspapers if their product is not working anymore.”
TPA President Jeff Fishman, publisher of The Tullahoma News and vice president of Lakeway Publishers Inc., said all states have laws regulating public notice. They are “designed to ensure that people within a community receive important information about the actions of their government,” he said, noting local newspapers are the “preferred venue.”
Notice must be published by an independent party, Fishman said, adding the publication must be achievable, be accessible and verifiable for court purposes.
“If any of these elements is absent, the public loses and the notice itself may be challenged,” he said.
Tennessee Coalition for Open Government Executive Director Frank Gibson said providing proper public notice “is the most vital action of government transparency.”
He cited figures from Connected Tennessee, a government-funded organization that deals with technology issues. They show that while 75 percent of the state’s 2.5 million households have a computer, the remaining 25 percent amount to 630,000, Gibson said.
Only 27 percent surveyed said they interacted with a local government website, Gibson said, while the survey showed 62 percent relied on newspaper websites
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Bills to Restrict Open Government Mostly Failed in Legislative Session

The 2011 legislative session saw many bills to close public records or reduce public notice of government action, observes Jack McElroy on his blog.
Open government forces mostly prevailed — though some bills will be back again next year — even though some in the new Republican majority seemed to view media as an enemy.
McElroy also provides a roundup listing of open government legislation from Frank Gibson of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government and the outcome of each bill. It is reproduced below.

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Bill Reducing Foreclosure Notices Clears House

The House voted 72-19 today to scale back on publication of foreclosure notices in newspapers as urged by the Tennessee Bankers Association.
The bill, HB1920, will reduce from three to two the number of times a foreclosure notice must be published. It also will shrink the length of notices by declaring that a full legal description need not be published.
Rep. Jimmy Matlock, R-Lenoir City, who sponsored the bill drafted by the bankers association, said the current requirements unnecessarily drive up costs of foreclosures.
Critics said the bill undermines one of the few safeguards for borrowers in a state that already makes it easier to foreclosure of a property than most other states.
Some said there are still cases where individuals learn their property is facing foreclosure through a newspaper notice, even though the law otherwise required notification by certified mail.
One example offered was where a couple has separated and the spouse receiving the notice does not inform the other, who is responsible for payment. And Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland, said he knew of a situation were an accident sent a homeowner into a nursing home for months, where the mailed notice was not received as a bank moved forward with foreclosure.
On the other hand, Rep. Johnny Shaw, D-Bolivar, who operates radio stations, jokingly suggested the bill be amended to require newspapers to publish foreclosure notices on their front page. Matlock said that would not be practical.
The bill now awaits a vote on the Senate floor.

Fighting Over Foreclosure Notices

Legislation to cut back on the number and length of home foreclosure legal notices now required in Tennessee is being pushed by bankers who stand to save money if the bill passes and opposed by newspapers that stand to lose money.
While that is clear, the two sides – both aided by a contingent of lobbyists – clashed sharply over whether the proposed change would benefit financially strapped homeowners and the general public as the bill advanced in the House last week.
As drafted and introduced at the behest of the Tennessee Bankers Association, HB1920 would require that just one notice of a pending foreclosure be published in a newspaper based in the county where the property is located.
Current law requires three notices. That has been the case for more than 125 years in Tennessee, according to Steve Baker, a Nashville foreclosure attorney who testified before committee in support of sticking with the “tried and true” three-time publication rule.
The bill was amended in committee last week to set the number of required notices at two, a move that sponsor Rep. Jimmy Matlock, R-Lenoir City, characterized as “compromising with ourselves.”
The full News Sentinel story is HERE.

Consumer Groups Decry Banks Bill to Reduce Foreclosure Notice

The Tennessee Banking Association is pushing legislation that would reduce foreclosure costs for financial institutions, drawing some criticism in a state where it’s already easier to foreclose on homeowners than in most other states.
Excerpt from a story by Chas Sisk:
One of Tennessee law’s few requirements is that banks have to publish a notice of foreclosure three times in a local newspaper. Banks want to cut detailed information about the property from the listings and reduce the number of times they have to run to just once.
Banks and some state lawmakers say that the advertisements are confusing and rarely read and that they simply add to the cost of foreclosures.
“The only people that are guaranteed to get paid are the newspapers,” said state Rep. Jimmy Matlock, the bill’s main sponsor in the House of Representatives.
But opponents of the bill say the advertising cost is small compared with the sums involved in a mortgage and foreclosure. They argue the requirement is the main way in which the broader community learns a foreclosure will take place, opening new opportunities to save homes from foreclosure and bringing more bidders to the sale if one occurs.
… Foreclosure activity in Tennessee rose more than 50 percent from 2006 to 2008, and it remains high, according to data from RealtyTracs and Moody’s Analytics.
“I can’t say that (the bill) is precipitated by the rise in foreclosures,” said Tim Amos, the TBA’s senior vice president and general counsel. “But it may have created awareness.”

(Note: The bill is HB1920. It’s on the calender for House Judiciary Committee Tuesday.)
.…Eight other House members have signed on as co-sponsors. The group includes House Democratic leader Craig Fitzhugh, a West Tennessee bank executive who serves as the bankers association’s president.
In the Senate, the bill is sponsored by state Sen. Jack Johnson, a former banker and chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey has expressed limited support for the bill.
Other lawmakers may be sympathetic to the industry. Banks gave more than $200,000 to Tennessee candidates for the state legislature and governor last year, including $184,750 that went to 134 candidates through the TBA’s political action committee. The contributions were in line with the TBA’s donations in previous years.