Dear Senator Wilk, Last year, you sponsored Assembly Bill (AB) No. 772 that amended the Code of Civil Procedure, relating to unclaimed property. The existing law “required the Controller, within one year of receiving unclaimed property, to cause a notice to be published in a newspaper of general circulation that the Controller determines is most likely to give notice to the owner of the property. Existing law requires that notice to have a specified title and to state that the owner of the property may obtain information regarding the property by inquiring with the Controller, as specified.”
The bill you sponsored “would instead authorize the Controller to cause notice to be published in a manner he or she determines to be reasonable.” In other words, the Controller would not be limited to publishing these notices in newspapers but now has the freedom to publish notices on internet websites or other media.
Your action with AB 772 brings public notification of unclaimed property into the 21st Century. Isn’t it time that those required to publish legal notices be afforded the same choices?
The majority of people are now getting their news online through internet news sites, streaming news feeds, and mobile apps. The time is ripe to introduce a bill that will allow all legal notices to also be published online as the Controller determines to be reasonable. Only allowing legal notices to be published in newspapers is antiquated and out of touch with today’s online accessibility. Publishing the notices online will allow for easier and more convenient access to these notices through desktop and mobile devices anywhere, anytime. It will also allow for user notification via automatic alerts setup by those that need them.
I have no doubt that the implementation of AB 772 will yield the empirical data needed to justify broadening the use of online websites for legal notifications and other government notices that currently are required to be publish in newspapers, most of which have declining readership.
Please look at this matter with an objective eye, monitoring the AB 772 data, and introduce legislation that will further modernize required notifications by the use of online websites that serve the communities in which such notices are published. Doing so will be a public service to residents of the entire State of California.