House advances legal notices legislation

The Louisiana House embraced legislation Tuesday that would broaden the competition for publishing legal notices in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes.

House Bill 787 would allow The Advocate to compete with NOLA Media Group for running judicial advertisements and legal notices. Currently, in order to bid for the publishing job, newspapers must maintain general paid circulation in the area for five consecutive years prior to selection.

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Jeff Arnold, said the legislation would open up the process for more competition.

Arnold, D-New Orleans, characterized The Advocate as a publishing company that’s existed in Louisiana for more than a century. The Advocate began publishing daily in Orleans and Jefferson parishes after the Times-Picayune downsized its print publication schedule.

The House voted 89-1 in favor of HB787. State Rep. Richie Burford, R-Stonewall, cast the lone dissenting vote. The bill now moves to the state Senate for debate.

Similar legislation is awaiting a floor vote in the Senate.