Last week the House Local Government Committee voted out HB 4183, legislation that would phase out the newspaper publication requirement for public notices and transition the notices to the Internet. This is a re-introduction from last session.
HB 4183 creates a tiered system for legal notices and phases them out over time. The legislation is vague, but the least “serious” notices would be considered Tier C. Tier A would include those notices that deal with property and finances. Because these tiers are not defined in law, there is confusion as to what constitutes Tier A, B or C. We are working to put together a document to explain each one and will push that out as soon as it is available.
There is a 10 year phase out of print publication notices and phases in online notices over that same period of time. Tier A’s are posted in the newspapers the longest as they deal with property loss, taxes, etc. Each 5 years the tiers are stepped down to the next level, removing one print publication notice, until they are all online by 2025.
The legislation allows local electors to hold a referendum to require continued publication in a newspaper. It allows local units to enter into contracts with media outlets for publication on their websites. The bill also requires archiving of public notices for five years.
Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues. She can be reached at [email protected] or 517-908-0305.