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Bill On Legal Notices Is Stalled

Jon S
Creative Commons

Some of the state's municipal leaders have pushed for a change in state law that would allow them to save money and cut back on printed public notices. But it seems unlikely that lawmakers will pass a measure before the session ends on Wednesday. 

Publishers have long made the argument that printing a public notice in a newspaper ensures government transparency. They also have said they need the money those legal notices bring in. As it stands, state law mandates those notices.

Organizations like the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities have pushed for a change that would allow them to publish shorter legal notices in print and longer ones online -- on their government websites. Now, it looks like any changes to state law along these lines may have to wait.

"The bill is still on the senate calendar and, with three days to go, you never know what will happen," said Chris Vandehoef, who runs the Connecticut Daily Newspaper Association. "I gather there's not a ton of support for it, but that can all certainly change by midnight on Wednesday."

The latest proposal would have allowed towns and cities to publish shortened notices in print and longer ones online. But they wouldn't have been on municipal websites -- but on newspaper websites, instead. It's a measure Vandehoef said his members can agree to.

A spokesman for the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities said his members are still concerned about how much such a system would cost.

Jeff Cohen started in newspapers in 2001 and joined Connecticut Public in 2010, where he worked as a reporter and fill-in host. In 2017, he was named news director. Then, in 2022, he became a senior enterprise reporter.

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