The Honorable Michael Day, House Chair
The Honorable James Eldridge, Senate Chair
Joint Committee on the Judiciary
State House, Boston

Delivered electronically

Dear Chair Day, Chair Eldridge, and Distinguished Members of the Committee,

On behalf of cities and towns across the Commonwealth, we write today to express our strong support for H. 1723 and S. 1137, An Act relative to legal advertisements in online-only newspapers.

These bills would explicitly expand the allowable outlets for required publication of legal notices to include online-only newspapers, in addition to print newspapers and newspapers of general circulation. As the existence of regional and local print newspapers declines and online-only news outlets increase, this legislation is a necessary adaptation of state law essential for supporting public information and engagement, while also offering cost efficiencies to municipalities.

For many cities and towns in Massachusetts, local online newspapers can better serve their immediate communities than larger print newspapers, which in many communities is the only allowable newspaper to publish legal notices. Local online newspapers are regularly a first resource for community members to stay informed of local events and issues. These outlets are a logical source for residents to access local legal notices posted by cities and towns.

Further, with dwindling competition among print newspapers, the higher costs for posting legal notices places unnecessary stress on municipal budgets. Allowing for legal notices to be published by online-only newspapers will introduce additional competition to the market, likely reducing publication fees and the costs to municipalities.

Local newspaper closures and the consolidation of print editions has impacted municipalities and residents in the Commonwealth as well as across the country. H. 1723 and S. 1137 are common-sense bills to respond to this trend and ensure efficient municipal government operations, all while protecting transparency and necessary notice information for residents in Massachusetts.

We appreciate the opportunity to submit testimony on these bills and urge the Committee to issue a favorable report. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or MMA Legislative Analyst Ali DiMatteo at at any time.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of this issue and your commitment to cities and towns across the Commonwealth.


Geoffrey C. Beckwith
MMA Executive Director & CEO