MACo Associate Director, Les Knapp Jr. along with Takoma Park Mayor, Bruce Williams, Frederick City Alderman Karen Young and Robert Bates, Office of Intergovernmental Relations for Montgomery County, testified before the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee on March 8 in support of Senate Bill 545. The bill, sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Young would authorize a county or municipality to satisfy a requirement to publish legal notices in a newspaper of general circulation by posting the notices on its Web site. In recognition of those citizens that do use the Internet or lack Internet access, local governments that choose to publish some or all of their legal notices electronically must also offer a free mail subscription service to their residents.
At the bill hearing, Senator Young offered an amendment that would require local governments to continue to advertise in a newspaper but rather than print the entire legal notice, simply indicate the nature of the notice and where it can be found on the local government’s website. Mr. Knapp and the other panelists cited the predominance of Internet usage over newspapers and the protections contained in the bill for people without Internet access.
The Maryland/Delaware/DC Press Association and several newspapers testified in opposition to the bill.