The House Local Government Committee took up HB 5560, a bill phasing in more online public notices, on Thursday. This bill, phases in online notices over a 10 year period and creates a three tiered system to indicate how many times a public notice should be required in a print publication and online during each phase of the phase-in approach.
The three tiers can be described as:
Tier A: Issues affecting property rights and taxes.
Tier B: everyday business for the local government of public interest.
Tier C: Everyday business that often does not require community feedback but may be of interest to the public or should be readily available online.
By the year 2025, each tier and publication requirement would look like the following, remembering there are two periods of 5 year increments that allow a local community to diminish the number of print notices and increase the number of online notices:
Tier A: Public notice would be posted on the active portion of a website for 30 days.
Tier A with a link: Public notice would be posted on the active portion of a website for 30 days with a link to the full document.
Tier B: Public notice would be posted on the active portion of a website for 14 days.
Tier B with a link: Public notice would be posted on the active portion of a website for 14 days with a link to the full document.
Tier C: Public notice posted on the active portion of the website for 14 days.
There would still be a requirement to have a hard copy on hand at the local unit of government’s office for inspection for the length of time the notice is required. Additionally, there would be an online archival component necessary as well.
We would like to thank Rep. Amanda Price (chair of the committee as well as the bill sponsor) for taking such a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to this issue taking into account the concerns from all sides. The process was long going through each act that required public notices. HB 5560 is what is being referred to as the “hub bill” that all of those different acts will point to at the public notice portion. Each of those acts will have to be amended to make that connection to the “hub bill.” Additionally, any direct mailings that are required to property owners in certain acts will be maintained.
HB 5560 will receive another hearing this Thursday. If you are interested in testifying in support of this bill and online notices please contact me. Additionally, if there are any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development and land use issues. She can be reached at [email protected] or 517-908-0305.