SECTION 1. Chapter 66 of the General Laws is amended by adding Paragraphs 2 through 6 of this act as a new Section 6A.
SECTION 2. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Electronic Publication of Legal Notices Act."
SECTION 3. Whenever anyone is required by law to publish a legal notice in a “newspaper” or “newspaper of general circulation”, the newspaper shall, in addition to print publication, publish the required notice on the newspaper's own website and on the statewide website established and maintained as a joint venture of the majority of Massachusetts newspapers as a repository for such notices. In publishing legal notices online, newspapers shall meet the following requirements:
a. The site must be accessible to the public over the Internet at all times, other than during maintenance or acts of God outside the operator's control; and
b. The government entity’s official Internet web site shall prominently display a link to the newspapers' statewide notice website; and
c. The newspapers' statewide notice site shall provide the full text of notices and shall be fully searchable by members of the public; and
d. The newspapers' statewide notice website shall be designed to comply with the accessibility standards of section 508 of the "Rehabilitation Act of 1973," as amended (29 U.S.C. s.794d); and
e. Notices shall remain available on the newspapers' statewide website at least until the last posting date required by law has expired or until the event described in a notice has taken place, whichever is later; and
f. No person shall be charged a fee to access public notices on a newspaper's website or on the newspapers' statewide website or to view notices or advertisements or to perform searches of such websites, provided that newspapers may charge a fee for enhanced search and customized content delivery features; and
g. No fee shall be charged to a state agency or political subdivision for publishing a notice or advertisement on the web site in excess of the fee for publishing the notice or advertisement in the print newspaper; and
h. The newspapers' statewide website shall maintain an archive of notices and advertisements that no longer are displayed on the web site; and
i. Newspapers shall enable notices and advertisements, both those currently displayed and those archived, to be accessed by key word, by party name, by case number, by municipality, zip code and by other useful identifiers; and
j. Newspapers shall maintain adequate systemic security and backup features, and develop and maintain a contingency plan for coping with and recovering from power outages, systemic failures, and other unforeseeable difficulties; and
k. A newspaper of general circulation shall include on its web site a link to the newspapers' statewide public notice web site.
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