Tag Archives: notices

Newspaper Legal Notices Bill Goes to Governor

The House gave final approval Monday night to a bill requiring newspapers that publish public notices to post them on their website as well at no extra charge.
The bill cleared the House on a 94-1 vote and now goes to the governor for his expected signature.
In brief debate, Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, told sponsor Rep. Ryan Haynes, R-Knoxville, that it seemed inappropriate to “be telling the newspaper what they can and can’t charge for.”
Haynes said the bill is supported by the Tennessee Press Association.
“They are committed to open government and this is one more service they can provide to make government more open and more transparent,” Haynes said. “To give more people the opportunity to see public notices, they’re willing to take that cost on.”

Bill Requires Newspapers to Publish Legal Notices Online (as well as in print)

The Senate has approved, 31-1, legislation that will require newspapers to post public notices on their websites as well as in their print editions with no extra charge starting in April, 2014.
The bill (SB461) faces a House floor vote next week after clearing committees without a dissenting vote. It is sponsored by Sen. Ken Yager, R-Harriman, and Rep. Ryan Haynes, R-Knoxville, and supported by the Tennessee Press Association.
In Senate floor debate, Yager noted there has been debate in the past about having public notices posted online on government websites rather than in newspapers with valid arguments on both sides. He said the legislation “tries to take the best of both and combine them into a bill that will preserve independence by allowing someone other than the government to disseminate notices.”
Besides requiring the notices be posted on newspaper websites, the measure also requires each newspaper provide a link to a website where such notices from newspapers statewide will be available. The Tennessee Press Association anticipates operating such a website.
The sole vote against the bill came from Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, who said he views the measure as “excluding everyone else who is not a Tennessee newspaper” from publishing public notices.

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Senate-passed Bill Requires Newspapers to Post Notices on Internet

News release from Senate Republican Caucus:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The State Senate approved legislation today requiring newspapers that print public notices to post them on the Internet. Senate Bill 461, sponsored by Senator Ken Yager (R-Harriman), is supported by the Tennessee Press Association.
Action on the bill was taken during “Sunshine Week,” an annual time to highlight the importance of maintaining open government nationwide. Yager said the legislation recognizes the growing use of the Internet as a source of information, while preserving the integrity of using an independent agency for public notice by newspapers of general circulation.
Current law requires public notices be given on a variety of matters of importance to the public, including government meetings, bid announcements, notice of parental termination, foreclosure notices, public sale of private property, back tax notices, estate notices and zoning changes, to name a few. Local governments, looking for ways to reduce expenditures have suggested they can save money by posting notices on their websites rather than posting them in a local newspaper.
“My experience in local government gives me a greater appreciation of the importance of this issue,” said Yager, who served as Roane County Executive for 24 years before being elected to the State Senate. “Using an independent agency, the local newspaper, builds integrity in the process. To give even the appearance of manipulating mandatory public notices, tarnishes the reputation of government because it undermines the concept of independence and transparency.”
In addition, the legislation calls for the newspapers to post public notices on a central statewide website. Every newspaper that publishes public notices must post on their website homepage a link to the public notice section and another link to the Tennessee Press Association’s statewide repository website.
“This bill combines the best of both worlds. It keeps public notices in places where more people can find them by ensuring the widest distribution,” said Senator Yager. “This measure comes with no extra costs to taxpayers, and promotes government transparency, efficiency and public trust. I am pleased that it has been approved by the full Senate and honored for its passage during a week that embraces openness in government.”

Amazon Sending ‘Pay-your-taxes’ Notices

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Online retailer Amazon.com has begun emailing Tennessee customers, telling them they might owe taxes on their purchases.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press (http://bit.ly/I681dj ) reported the notification follows the signing of a law about a month ago by Gov. Bill Haslam. The law requires Amazon to begin collecting sales tax on items sold to Tennessee residents, beginning in 2014.
In the interim, Tennessee consumers are liable for a “consumer use” tax that applies to goods purchased online from a company that doesn’t collect the sales tax.
The notice from the company informs customers they might owe the tax and details the various divisions of Amazon.com from which goods were purchased. It also provides a link to the Tennessee Department of Revenue’s consumer use tax return website, which explains the consumer use tax, who should file and how.

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TN Newspapers Moving from Political Clout to Political Target?

The Tennessee Journal’s current issue has a lengthy analysis on the decline in political influence of Tennessee newspapers.
Meanwhile, Frank Gibson, who heads the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, has written a piece for the Tennessee Press Association under the headline, “In Legislature, target was on the backs of newspapers.”
The Journal piece begins thusly:
It used to be accepted political wisdom that one should never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel. But in the 2011 legislative session, state lawmakers were quite willing to take on the newspaper industry.
Some of the fights involved access to public records, and some pertained to public notices, an important source of advertising revenue for papers big and small. Bills of both sorts have been common in recent years.
What was unusual this year was the volume. Newspapers found themselves in multiple battles. Among the threats to transparency and prosperity were proposals to deny public records to parties suing the government and let local governments publish notices on the Internet.
In the end, most but not all of the bills either failed, were deferred, or passed with amendments that made them more palatable to the industry. Some of the fights, and likely new ones, will wait until 2012.
A common explanation for the rash of bills is the big Republican takeover. Republicans, it is theorized, are less friendly to the media because they perceive the media, sometimes accurately, as less friendly to them than to Democrats. Thus, they turned their fire on newspapers in the same way they shot at the Tennessee Education Association, though on a much smaller scale.
Reasons for newspaper loss of political clout listed range from decline in number of newspapers and readership to fallout over media pushing for open government and corporate ownership of papers as opposed to the past tendency toward them being owned and operated by local folks well plugged into the community.
Jackson Baker has reproduced a couple of charts on newspaper circulation decline from the Journal article and thrown in some of his own commentary HERE.
Gibson’s TPA piece is reproduced below.

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Foreclosure Notices Bill Passes; Three Notices Required

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The House has reluctantly agreed to restore the required frequency of foreclosure notices published in Tennessee newspapers to three times.
The chamber had originally approved Rep. Jimmy Matlock’s measure (HB1920) to reduce the requirement to two public notices, but the Senate refused to go along.
The Lenoir City Republican said Saturday that he regrets the change, but that he agreed in the interest of getting the measure passed this year. The chamber voted 85-2 to approve the changes.
The final version of the bill would still trim technical information required in the notices, thereby cutting about 25 percent of the length.
The bill now heads for the governor’s consideration.