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  • NJ A644
  • Permits publication of legal notices by governments and individuals on official government website instead of newspaper.
Introduced
(1/27/2016)
In Committee
(1/27/2016)
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill authorizes individuals, as well as local, county, and State government units, including school districts, to meet publication requirements for legal notices by posting such notices on officially designated searchable government websites, so long as Internet accessibility and reliability requirements are met. Nothing in this bill alters existing notice content and publication time frame requirements, nor does this bill eliminate an individual or government entity's ability to meet publication requirements through newspaper publication as set forth under current law. The bill expands the geographic availability of legal notices, many of which need only appear in one local or regional newspaper under current law. Under the provisions of the bill, Internet publication is only available to local governments following the adoption of a resolution or ordinance authorizing the publication of notices on the internet and when the local government can establish that free public Internet access is available in the jurisdiction. The bill further requires that a link to the notice webpage be prominently displayed on the homepage of the publishing government entity and that the notice webpage address be advertised, along with a listing of free public Internet access locations, in one or more newspapers within the jurisdiction. Additionally, publication websites must be accessible online at least 98 percent of the time on a continuous basis and the government entity must provide free copies of such notices when an interested person is unable to access the official website. The bill requires that any local government agency which elects to publish notices on the internet also post other information such as notices of any public meeting, the minutes of a meeting of the governing body, the full text of any resolution or ordinance considered by the governing body, the municipal code, contracts for goods and services, and the results of any legal action in which the local government agency was a party, provided the disclosure does not violate any confidentiality agreement or court order. A local government agency is defined as any public entity governed by the "Local Public Contracts Law" or the "Public School Contracts Law." The bill also requires an individual wishing to publish a legal notice on an official website to contact the appropriate local, county or State government entity to formally request that the legal notice be published. Such publication is only available when the applicable government entity maintains a notice website or otherwise publishes legal notices pursuant to the provisions of this bill. Furthermore, when a municipality does not have an official website, this bill allows for municipal legal notices to be published on the website of the county in which the property is located. Proof of publication of all Internet published legal notices shall be ascertained in the same manner as if the notices had been published in a print newspaper. The Chief Technology Officer of the Office of Information technology, in consultation with the Director of the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs, is required to promulgate any rules and regulations in order to effectuate the provisions of this bill. Finally, the bill amends three sections of the "Senator Byron M. Baer Open Public Meetings Act" to reflect the new internet publication and notice requirements imposed by the bill.
Not specified
Introduced, Referred to Assembly State and Local Government Committee  (on 1/27/2016)
 
 

Date Chamber Action Description
1/27/2016 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly State and Local Government Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
None specified