Utahns have enhanced legals viewing capabilities
Along with viewing legal notices in their local newspaper, Utahns will have a second way to read, search and browse statewide legal notices through a new Web site.
UtahLegals.com, created by the Utah Press Association, will allow citizens log on to search the entire Utah database or their local newspaper database. Users can also track notices for their local community or keyword via e-mail or RSS feeds. With a long history in the United States, legal notices are important to a democracy because they are a third-party notification to the public of everything from foreclosures to bids to hearings about tax increases.
The new Web site follows the passage of SB208 during the 2009 Legislative Session. The law requires local governments and other agencies post notices on the Web site. As part of the law, Utah newspapers agreed to create a central and searchable online depository of legal notices.
"The Web site is a national model of a private-public partnership. Utah's daily and weekly newspapers have built the Web site at no cost to citizens," according Michael J. Fox, Utah Press Association executive director. "Residents will now have two ways to receive and use legal notices - in their local newspaper or online. Online they will have the advantage of searching one central database for most of Utah state and local government legal notices."
UtahLegals.com provides the following features:
Key word search
Search by date
Search by newspaper
RSS feeds by newspaper
E-mail alert function based on key word
Under the statute:
Between Jan. 1, 2010 and Jan. 1, 2012: All notices which are now required to be published in a newspaper still must continue in a "newspaper of general circulation." The notices will also published online by the Utah Press Association. Newspapers may continue to charge for the printed legal notice, but cannot charge for the Web notice, which will be provided as a service by Utah newspapers.
After Jan. 1, 2012, government entities in Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah and Washington counties may choose to publish the notice in the newspaper. Entities will be able to place and purchase the ad directly through the online Web site. This function is currently under development and expected to functional in January. After Jan. 1, 2012, government entities in counties of 3rd to 6th class will still be required to publish in both the printed newspaper and online after Jan. 1, 2012. This maintains the status quo in these counties.
Along with the traditional placement through newspapers, individuals may be able to place legal notices through the online system expected to be functional by January 2010. The online system will require users to select a local newspaper of general circulation for publication and then pay the legal notice rate for that publication.
This bill did not affect public meeting notices. Government entities will still be required to post public meeting notices on the State Public Meeting Notice Web Site http://www.utah.gov/pmn and notify newspapers of public meetings by e-mail through the online subscription system.
The Utah Press Association is a long time state organization serving Utah's newspapers. On Dec. 17, 1893 a small group of Utah's publishers met to form what would become known as the Utah Press Association. Since that day, the Association has continually represented Utah's newspapers and helped people gain access to print media. The purpose of Utah Press Association is to function as a collective voice and a legislative representative for all Utah member newspapers. They assist the public as an economical placement service for news releases and advertising in our associate newspapers. Utah Press Association offers an electronic clipping service for anyone with an interest in any particular topic in the state's various newspapers.