Of Record 2013

November 2013

Featured Issues Regarding Public Notices

Wyo. Press Reaches Notice Compromise, Wins Committee Approval
A package of legislation changing the way local governments publish legal notices received approval in October from a state legislative committee, according to a report in the Casper Star-Tribune. The bills reduce the number of times required for some legal notices to be published in newspapers and also incorporates government web sites to inform the public. The proposals are the result of more than a year’s study and negotiations between the Wyoming Press Association, the Wyoming Association of Municipalities and the Wyoming Association of County Commissioners, the newspaper said.

The big change is in publication of government employee names, positions and salaries. Currently, the names and positions are published separately once a year. The names and salaries are then published in a second publication in the same year. The dual publication prevented readers from associating specific salaries with names. If the bill passes the Legislature, the names of city, county and town employees, their positions and salaries will be published together once a year in a single list. Liquor license sales and transfers will also be affected should the bill pass.

It was the first time in years the three groups met to find common ground about the legal notices, said Jim Angell, executive director of the Wyoming Press Association. After the study, virtually all public notices remain in newspapers. “We decided that nothing can be shifted entirely to the Internet,” Angell said.

Bills change Wyoming legal notice laws – Casper Star-Tribune (10.31.2013)


Pa. Senate Committee Approves Online Notices Bill
A Pennsylvania Senate committee has approved a bill that would allow local governments to post information long-published in local newspapers exclusively on government websites.

The move puts too much faith in government, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review said in an editorial. Senate Bill 733 was reported out of the Local Government committee and marked for first consideration on October 22, 2013. “Senate Bill 733 [would give] municipalities, school districts, local authorities and intergovernmental entities … to publish public notices on their own official websites instead of in ‘newspapers of general circulation,’” the editorial says.

On November 13, the bill was re-referred to the Appropriations Committee.

Melissa Melewsky, media law counsel for the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, cites the “significant number” of Pennsylvanians lacking internet access as one problem with SB 733. But the biggest, she says, is reliance on local governments’ own websites, which are infrequently visited, not secure and, unlike newspapers, don’t provide independent, third-party authentication of notices’ publication.

Public notices: Trust government? No – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (10.26.2013)
Don’t give gov’t chance to hide public notices – Standard Speaker, Hazeleton, Pa. (11.6.2013)
Stop progress for new public notices legislation – News Item, Shamokin, Pa. (11.14.2013)
Editorial: Public notice measures endanger public trust – Delaware County Daily Times, Primos, Pa. (11.17.2013)
Pa. bill to change public notices is a threat to the republic – Reading (Pa.) Eagle (11.17.2013)
Senate Bill 733


N.J. Study Reveals Difficulty in Finding Information on Government Websites
The coding team associated with a Monmouth University study of New Jersey’s 540 municipal government websites could not clearly locate the municipal budget on 15% of the websites, despite a state law requiring municipalities to post budgets on its website. Although the study’s authors note that this does not necessarily mean that the budgets were not available online, it does illustrate the difficulty sometimes faced in finding information on government websites.

The study also found that nearly 6-in-10 New Jersey municipal websites provide at least half of the content items covered in the evaluation. The most content-heavy sites in the evaluation contain 68 of the 86 listed items – or 79% of potential content items. The amount of content available on a municipal website correlates significantly to the size of the town. In other words, the larger the town, the more content the website is likely to provide.

About two-thirds of town websites provide an email link or message function to directly reach the clerk, mayor, or council members. Just under half provide department emails. However, if a constituent does not know which department should be contacted, only 20% of websites provide a general email address to reach town hall.

New Jersey e-Government: Best Practices for Municipal Websites – Monmouth University (3.2013)


Pew Newspaper Study Optimistic for the First Time Since 2007
A recent study by the Pew Research Center reveals that, for the first time since 2007, newspapers have grounds for what it calls a “modicum of optimism.”

The study notes that companies “have started to experiment in a big way” with a variety of new revenue streams and major organizational changes and that they show signs of stabilizing revenue. “Digital pay plans are being adopted at 450 of the country’s 1,380 dailies and appear to be working not just at The New York Times but also at small and mid-sized daily papers.

“Together with the other new revenue streams, these added circulation revenues are rebalancing the industry’s portfolio from its historic over-dependence on advertising,” the study says.

Print readership in measured daily newspapers continues to decline. (Community newspapers are largely not measured.) The percentage of adults who report they read a newspaper “yesterday declined in 2012 for all age groups except 18-to-24-year-olds; readership remains strongest among older, better-educated Americans. For readership details, search for “readership” near the end of the “By the Numbers” link.

Newspapers: Stabilizing, but Still Threatened – The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (7.18.2013)
Newspapers: By the Numbers – The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (5.7.2013)  


Publication Date Snafu Holds Indiana City’s Taxes at 2013 Levels
Greencastle, Ind., residents will not see their 2014 city taxes rise, thanks to public notice publication dates that did not fully meet state requirements. The city’s 2014 budget was published as a public notice in the Greencastle Banner-Graphic on Aug. 17 and Aug. 23 in advance of a public hearing on Aug. 29, according to a story reported in the newspaper.

State statutes require that the legal ad be published twice, seven days apart. While the period Aug. 17-23 encompasses seven days, the Indiana Department of Local Government and Finance (DLGF) has ruled that the publication was non-compliant, and that the city’s 2014 budget must be held at 2013 tax levels.

“In Greencastle’s situation, the issue at hand is improper timing of the publications,” said Michael E. Duffy, an attorney for the DLGF, “rather than an error in the content of the notice itself.”

City clerk-treasurer Lynda Dunbar tried to use proof of online publication to substantiate that the budget deadline had been met, showing that the budget had been published online on Aug. 16 and Aug. 24, which would meet the seven day requirement.

Duffy told the city attorney via email that online publication did not meet state requirements. “Posting an ad on a website – even one owned by a newspaper – is not the same as publishing the ad in a newspaper published and circulated in the political subdivision,” he said.

Legal ad publication snafu to hold city taxes at 2013 levels – Greencastle (Ind.) Banner-Graphic (11.13.2013)


State Legislation

For a comprehensive list of important public notice bills, visit the PNRC website at: http://www.pnrc.net/subscribers/legal/state-updates/

Massachusetts – HB 1586:  Scheduled for Hearing (11.7.2013)
A proposal to move public notices to a government website is just now beginning to see action, having been dormant since being introduced 10 months ago.  The legislation specifically requires the internet notice to require three of the four legs of public notice as defined by the PNRC:  to be accessible, archivable, and verifiable through an affidavit. The fourth leg – independence – is not addressed. Further, the bill provides remedies if there is a failure of notice, either through email contacts to submit a complaint or by providing copies of the notice free of charge.


Michigan
Two proposals were on the November ballot affecting public notices.  One city proposal in Durand to move public notices from newspapers to a government website was defeated.  However, proposals in another city, Novi, were split.  One proposal that passed by a slim margin allows for posing of notices either in newspapers, on the City’s website or “by any other means or methods appropriate to properly inform the general public.”  The other proposal that would have removed requirements of newspaper notice was defeated.

Michigan Press Association finds that the defeat of one proposal “casts serious doubts” on the implementation of the proposal that passed and plans to actively speak with legislators about the importance of public notice in newspapers, specifically in rural areas where the majority of Novi residents reside.


Articles & Editorials

New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities has ordered the state’s regulated public utilities to post on their websites all documents filed in pending rate cases and upcoming public hearings. Water, electric and gas companies must also provide a web address to that online material in every customer’s monthly bill until the rate case is decided. The utilities have long been required to post legal notices in newspapers about any proposed rate hikes along with related public hearings on those requests; those notices are still required under the new order.
N.J. says public utilities must now post rate hike case documents online – The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J. (10.17.2013)

Gooseneck Bend, Okla., fire department officials eager to replace a pumper truck that recently broke down will have to wait a few weeks thanks in part to a public notice that lacked legal sufficiency. The Muskogee Phoenix reported that bids opened in October were rejected because five of the seven received failed to meet specifications, a sixth lacked a notarized anti-collusion provision, and the seventh arrived after commissioners closed the bid acceptance period.

Even without those problems, the department likely would have had to republish the bid solicitation notice because the original notice appears to lack legal sufficiency, the newspaper reported. In an attempt to ‘cast a wider net,’ Gooseneck Bend firefighter Tom Vecchio said he published the legal notice in a metropolitan newspaper outside the county. Vecchio, an insurance professional, said the decision was made based on concerns about getting ‘locked in to dealing with just one’ vendor.

Notices of bid solicitation have no “force or effect” unless they are posted in newspapers published within the county where the transaction will take place. The fire department will rebid the purchase of the pumper truck.
Problems invalidate firetruck bids – Muskogee (Okla.) Phoenix (10.21.2013)

The Johnson County (Kan.) Commission in late October rejected a protest from two Kansas newspapers who argued that the commission’s plan to award the Kansas City Star and its sister publication the Olathe News a bid for legal notices would violate state law.

The Gardner News and the Shawnee Dispatch argued that neither the Star nor the Olathe News meet the requirements set by state law to serve as a legal publication for Johnson County. The Star is headquartered in Missouri; the Olathe News has an office in Kansas but reportedly lacks a U.S. Postal Service periodical postage permit; the dispute centers around whether the newspaper’s pending periodical permit meets Kansas requirements that legal publications hold a periodical permit. (Johnson County counters that state law does not require the permit, only that the periodical be “entered at the post office as periodical class mail matter.”)

Doug Anstaett, executive director of the Kansas Press Association, said state law doesn’t address whether a pending periodical permit is sufficient. “I don’t believe any of these issues have ever been adjudicated,” Anstaett said. “We don’t really have any case law to point to on this,” he told the Dispatch.
Potential Johnson County legal-notice deal may violate state law – The Dispatch, Shawnee, Kan. (11.4.2013)

A special meeting of the Little Sandy District Health Department Board in Carter County, Ky., may have violated the state’s open meeting law because there was no public notice of the meeting, the county attorney says.

“To my knowledge and based on the information I have received there was no public notice of this special meeting,” Carter County Attorney Patrick Flannery told the Journal-Times of Grayson, Ky. “If proper notice was not given in accordance with state law this meeting was in violation of the state’s Open Meetings law.”

Health Department Interim Director Paula Thornsberry said the meeting “was called on such short notice that the information was posted on a bulletin board” at the health department.
Health Department may have violated Open Meeting Law – The Journal-Times, Grayson, Ky. (11.7.2013)
Olive Hill’s health department to close – The Journal-Times, Grayson, Ky. (11.6.2013)

The California Newspaper Publishers Association is promoting the use of a Public Notice “button” on member newspaper’s websites to direct readers to the CNPA’s CaPublicNotice.com website. “CNPA believes this service makes a bold statement that newspapers are doing everything possible to serve the public by both printing and publishing public notices in newspapers widely distributed in the community and also aggregating all public notices in a searchable format on the internet,” the association said in its November 5 newsletter. The association’s public notice website has 40,000 notices from nearly 100 newspapers.

A private water utility in North Carolina is seeking to use a law passed (without opposition) this past summer to raise future water rates without public notice. The North Carolina Utilities Commission is holding public hearings on a proposed 19% rate increase; the hearings will also examine Aqua’s proposal to raise future rates without public notice or hearings. The new law, which allows private water utilities to adjust rates several times a year through a streamlined review process, makes no mention of either public notice or public hearings, leaving the decision to the commission. According to the Charlotte Observer, the commission can scarp the new rate-adjustment mechanism if it is not in the public interest.

Aqua North Carolina serves more than 400 subdivisions in the Raleigh-Durham area, charging about twice as much municipal water agencies in Raleigh, Durham and Cary.
Aqua NC wants to raise water rates incrementally, without public notice or hearings – Charlotte (N.C.) Observer (11.18.2013)
S.L. 2013-106

City and county leaders may soon find themselves wishing they had launched a newspaper when they developed plans to turn a town of less than 1,000 people in western Washington into a planned community. Homeowners in one part of the small Washington city of DuPont have found themselves with a close-up view of the county’s new, 125-foot emergency communications tower.

The tower, which is visible throughout the neighborhood where Mechelle Winder bought her lot – and built her home – six years ago, has Winder and her neighbors concerned that their property values will plummet, and angry that the city failed to adequately notify them about plans to construct the radio tower.

Historically, DuPont has been home to only a few hundred people, but redevelopment plans have caused it to grow to more than 8,000 at the 2010 census. But DuPont is also a town without a newspaper, and no likely outlet for the publication of public notices. One publisher familiar with the area tells of Record that the siting of a tower, in this case, required direct notice, which was handled through the distribution of leaflets and that the legal fight will be over direct notice. The fight is just the latest in a string of well-known public records cases (all of which the county has lost, so far).
DuPont residents upset over communications tower placement – News Tribune, Tacoma, Wash. (11.18.2013)



October 2013

Featured Issues Regarding Public Notices

S.D. Paper Leads Charge to Require Public Notice of City Meetings
If you ever doubted the power of the local newspaper to effect change, one South Dakota publisher has good news: thanks in part to his newspaper’s six-year effort, all city meetings are now open to the public, with public notice of those meetings posted.

Prior to the September 16 Watertown, S.D., city council meeting, the city’s finance and public works committees, established by city ordinance, were not required to post a public notice of upcoming meetings, capture the minutes of those meetings or provide them to the public when asked. But, thanks in large part to reporting done by the Watertown Public Opinion, the city council has now passed an ordinance change which requires all city meetings be open to the public.

“We’ve beat this drum awfully hard over the years,” Public Opinion publisher Mark Roby tells of Record, “including a request to each new city council (we have elections every two years) to change the ordinance.  Finally, a new mayor was elected this July, and he made it happen.”

An editorial in the September 17 issue of the paper recaps the actions which led to the ordinance change: “In 2007 the citizens of Watertown were confronted with the stark reality of not having these committee meetings open to the public. At that time, the city finance committee met in secret, with no public notice and to this date, no known minutes of that meeting were ever captured for subsequent review by the public. On a 5-1 vote, they created a plan to raid $4 million a year from our city-owned independently operated Municipal Utilities. This represented a four-fold increase over the $875,000 annual transfer by the utilities to the city’s general fund.”

Roby has provided of Record with PDFs of the newspaper’s original reporting on the raid of the Municipal Utilities bank account, as well as the newspaper editorial and his own column celebrating the victory for public notice.

A 2011 survey commissioned by the South Dakota Newspaper Association indicated that 50% of South Dakotans read public notices in the local newspaper either frequently or at least sometimes. The same survey showed that three-fourths of South Dakotans believe public notices should continue to be published in newspapers.

Decision may cause utility hike – The Watertown Public Opinion (8.14.2007, original reporting)
Good news at City Hall – The Watertown Public Opinion (9.17.2013, reaction to ordinance change)
A good day for Watertown residents – The Watertown Public Opinion (9.18.2013, reaction to ordinance change)
South Dakota Newspaper Association’s Public Notice Video – SDNA YouTube Channel


92% of Offline Adults ‘Not Interested’ in the Internet
A Pew Internet Project study has found that 15% of American adults do not use the internet at all, and another 9% of adults use the internet but not at home. Key findings from the study include:

  • 32% of non-internet users cite reasons tied to their sense that the internet is not very easy to use. These non-users say it is difficult or frustrating to go online, they are physically unable, or they are worried about other issues such as spam, spyware, and hackers. This figure is considerably higher than in earlier surveys.
  • 17% of all non-internet users say they would be able to start using the internet on their own if they wanted to; 63% said they would need assistance.
  • Of offline adults studied, just 8% say they would like to start using the internet or email, while 92% say they are not interested.

Who’s not online and why – Pew Internet Project (9.25.2013)


Maine Newspapers Exchange Periodicals Tax for Public Notice
An October 1 tax increase in Maine has raised the prices on everything just about everything in the state, including newspapers and other periodicals, which became subject to the state’s 5.5% sales tax for the first time. That’s not really the story, though, as of Record knows of a number of other states where newspapers are also taxable.

What’s more interesting is a report by the Portland Press Herald that explains why the Maine Press Association dropped its opposition to the newly-taxable status of newspapers:

“The Maine Press Association, a trade group that includes the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram and 32 other newspapers in Maine, objected to the tax change, but later accepted it in exchange for keeping state public notices in print newspapers, an important revenue stream for the industry,” the newspaper reported.

Taxes going up in Maine Tuesday – Portland Press Herald (10.1.2013)


Colorado City Considers Moving Some Public Notices out of Newspaper
The city of Steamboat Springs, Colo., Planning Department is considering updates to the public notice process used to alert residents to when there’s a project proposed in their neighborhood, according to a story in Steamboat Today.

The Planning Department’s proposal would utilize a city website to provide information about projects, with a shift away from notices printed in the local newspaper. Notices printed in the newspaper would be limited to those required by Colorado Revised Statutes Title 30, Article 23 and Title 31, Article 12, dropping the number of project types that require print notices from 19 to six. Agendas would continue to be published in the newspaper.

City of Steamboat Springs planner Toby Stauffer said that despite potential savings from scaling back print notices, there would be additional costs associated with the more Web-centric approach. “We think it might be sort of a wash,” she said about the net financial effect.

Concerns brought forward by the Planning Department staff will result in the Planning Commission revisiting changes at an Oct. 24 public hearing. (It should be noted that in Arkansas, certain public notices  regarding concentrated animal feeding operations have moved online, and are now tied up in court. See the September 2013 issue of of Record for details.)

City of Steamboat Springs Planning Department proposes public notice changes – Steamboat Pilot & Today, Steamboat Springs, Colo. (9.25.2013)
Our View: Promoting open government – Steamboat Pilot & Today, Steamboat Springs, Colo. (10.2.2013)
Code changes recommended by Steamboat Planning Commission to see another hearing – Steamboat Pilot & Today, Steamboat Springs, Colo. (10.7.2013)


Study Shows Half of Links in Supreme Court Opinions are Dead
A study by Harvard professor Jonathan Zittrain highlights the dangers of relying on internet links to actually work when you need them to.

Zittrain, who teaches not only at Harvard Law School but also at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and its School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, reports on his “The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It” blog that half of the links in US Supreme Court opinions no longer work, a phenomenon known as link rot. Worse, he says, as time passes, the number of non-working links increases.

This increasing link rot can result in a loss of what was once publicly-available information. As Zittrain told New York Times Supreme Correspondent Adam Liptak: “Things are readily accessible,” he said, “until they aren’t.”

Liptak also writes that a link in a 2011 Supreme Court opinion about violent video games, written by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., now leads to a 404 Error page which contains the following message from the page’s new owner: “Aren’t you glad you didn’t cite to this webpage in the Supreme Court Reporter? If you had, like Justice Alito did, the original content would long since have disappeared and someone else might have come along and purchased the domain in order to make a comment about the transience of linked information in the internet age.”

Scoping and Addressing the Problem of Link and Reference Rot in Legal Citations – Social Science Research Network (9.21.2013)
The Future of the Internet Blog – http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/futureoftheinternet/
In Supreme Court Opinions, Web Links to Nowhere – The New York Times (9.23.2013)
404 Error Message – http://ssnat.com


Alaska Paper Touts State Government’s Online Public Notice System
Alaska has revamped its government-run statewide “Online Public Notice System” (OPNS), and at least one newspaper in the state has provided what amounts to free advertising for the government.

A press release issued by Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell says “the OPNS now includes enhanced search capability, making it easier to find and share information.” An unbylined story in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner – which runs public notice ads in its classifieds section – contains a slightly rewritten version of the same claim: “the new Online Public Notice System allows the public to more easily search and share for public notices issued by the state.” The News-Miner’s online version even includes a helpful link to the OPNS, which can be found at http://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/.

Online Public Notice System Introduced – Press Release, Alaska Lt. Governor’s Office (9.16.2013)
State launches online notices – Fairbanks News-Miner (9.18.2013)


Michigan City to Hold Vote on Printed Public Notices
The Michigan Press Association is gearing up to keep public notices in newspapers. The City of Lodi intends to the put the question of posting public notices on their website rather than publishing in their local newspaper on their ballot in next month’s election. “While it might seem that this issue shouldn’t impact members statewide that is simply not true. If this effort is successful in Novi it will provide fuel for our opponents in Lansing to feed the fire to eliminate notice in newspaper altogether. Not many members can afford to see that happen, nor can the public who will suffer from the lack of due process and independence with regard to their property rights, tax dollars and government transparency,” MPA said in its Oct. 3 newsletter.


State Legislation

With only six states currently in session, there is not much new legislation to report. Eight states have already begun the prefiling process for their 2014 sessions. For a comprehensive list of important public notice bills, visit the PNRC website at:  http://www.pnrc.net/subscriber-resources/state-legislative-chart/ 


Articles & Editorials

Tablet magazines may look good, but San Francisco-based media company GigaOM says the tablet approach leads straight to magazine oblivion, at least for individual titles. GigaOM notes studies showing that while the average mobile user has 41 apps on his or her smartphone, the average user opens only eight a day – mostly Facebook, YouTube and games.
Why tablet magazines are a failure – GigaOM (10.6.2013)

Davison County (S.D.) commission chair John Claggett is pondering the cost of publishing the county’s new 21-page drainage ordinance in The Daily Republic and has suggested seeking less expensive publication methods due to the length of the ordinance. County Auditor Susan Kiepke said the topic is a non-issue: “South Dakota codified law, as it now stands, says you will publish an ordinance in its entirety,” she said.

The Daily Republic responded in an editorial, noting that “for a miniscule [sic] portion of its budget, the county is able to fully inform its constituents of its intentions and day-to-day operations, payouts, hirings and so forth, according to the state law that mandates it. In some cases, the legals even alert taxpayers of big troubles.”
Commissioners approve cop software (scroll to “Publishing costs”) – The Daily Republic, Mitchell, S.D. (9.3.2013)
Ink by the barrel: Legals need to be in print – The Daily Republic, Mitchell, S.D. (9.4.2013)

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has amended the city’s Administrative Code, which governs administration of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in the city and county of San Francisco, expanding public notice of CEQA decisions, although not in newspapers. Depending on the nature of the notice, the ordinance requires that the Planning Department implement an electronic notification system, authorizes electronic transmittal of certain other official notices and requires other notices to be posted at the project site in a manner that assures that posters are visible from the closest public street or other public space.
Key Amendments to the San Francisco Administrative Code Governing CEQA Procedures, Appeals and Public Notice Requirements Go Into Effect – Holland & Knight client alert (9.25.2013)

A letter to the editor alleges that residents of an apartment building in Great Neck, N.Y., did not receive adequate notice of a July public hearing to approve a hookah lounge. “A legal notice published in the Great Neck Record of April 26 gave notice of an earlier public hearing on May 7 for a permit … to use the premises at 435 Middleneck Road, Village of Great Neck, as a restaurant. No approval was granted for the restaurant. No mention was made in the legal notice for the May 7 hearing that the proposed use was for a Hookah lounge … which created a dangerous health problem to the patrons of the lounge and to the public through second hand smoke,” said the letter.
Readers Write: Notice lacking in hookah bar application – The Island Now, Williston Park, N.Y. (9.19.2013)



September 2013

Featured Issues Regarding Public Notices

Arkansas Pig Lot Raises Stink with Legal, but Insufficient, Notice
Residents of Mt. Judea, Ark., were surprised to learn recently that their peaceful community is about to become host to a hog farm that will house up to 6,503 hogs. Residents of the town, through a coalition of environmental groups, say that while notices about the development of the C&H Hog Farm may have been legally sufficient, few in town knew about the approval processes.

“What really set me off was the fact that it was a done deal by the time we heard about it,” says Gordon Watkins a nearby farmer and president of the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, one of the groups in the coalition. “It had been done very quietly with no fanfare and even some neighbors of the property didn’t know about it until after the fact.” Watkins spoke with the Arkansas Times in Little Rock.

The environmental coalition has sued two federal agencies that backed the loan to build the facility, alleging that the Farm Services Agency and the Small Business Administration failed to do adequate environmental assessments and offer adequate public notice. The coalition has also been sharply critical of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and the state permitting process that approved the facility, though it hasn’t sued the state so far, Times reporter David Ramsey said.

The notice for the federal agencies was published in an edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette not widely available in the affected area, though there is a local community newspaper in the area.  State law required the ADEQ notice only to be carried on the agency’s website, which it was. PNRC is monitoring the case for possible future action.

Hog farm near the Buffalo River stirs controversy – The Arkansas Times, Little Rock (8.15.2013)
Hutchinson: More Notice Needed On Hog Farm, Other Projects – Northwest Arkansas Online, Fayetteville, Ark., (9.7.2013)
Groups Go to Court to Protect Buffalo National River from Factory Hog Farm Waste – press release (8.6.2013)
A copy of the lawsuit is here

Virginia’s FOIA Advisory Council Declines to Redefine “Public Meeting”
Virginia’s Freedom of Information Advisory Council has denied a request by Hanover County to study redefining “public meeting” under FOIA.

The county Board of Supervisors had requested that the council weigh in on a July resolution by supervisors asking the Virginia General Assembly to change open government regulations to allow up to three Board members to meet in private to discuss county business without having to advertise it as a public meeting. Currently, no more than two local elected officials in Virginia can meet behind closed doors to discuss government affairs, with some exceptions.

The Virginia Press Association reported in its weekly newsletter that after a nearly 20-minute presentation by Del. Christopher K. Peace, R-Hanover, and Hanover County Attorney Sterling E. Rives III, there was no support on the council to move forward with the study of possible legislation to change the definition of a meeting.

Rives told the council that a public meeting is not the ideal setting to hold brainstorming sessions to discuss difficult situations.

“Right now, meetings of public bodies … which are open to the public, which are held in a formal setting, are not ideal opportunities for brainstorming because there is simply limited time available on public meeting agendas, and many issues to handle,” he said.

The Hanover Herald-Progress reported that county supervisor and Board chair W. Canova Peterson IV said the Council’s decision didn’t come as a surprise, adding he and the county will continue pushing for changing the state’s open meeting laws.

Hanover wants state agency to review Virginia’s open meeting rules
 – Richmond Times-Dispatch, (08.29.2013)
FOIA Council denies Hanover’s request to review open meeting laws – Hanover Herald-Progress (9.17.2013)

Newspapers Bring Public Notice to the Front Section
An August story by Baton Rouge Advocate reporter Jeff Adelson struck exactly the right chord with newspaper publishers in Louisiana and elsewhere: the newsroom reported on one of the public notices carried elsewhere in the newspaper.

The lead story in the August 21, 2013, edition of the newspaper highlighted the upcoming selection of committee members to the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority – East – and included a graphic of the public notice running on Page 9E of the same day’s newspaper.

PNRC has long urged newsrooms to cite and link to public notices when stories cover matters where public notice is required.  The links and cites permit members of the public to evaluate for themselves whether notice was adequate and also encourage better attention to newspaper public notices.

“The Advocate did what we all long for with public notice,” says Pamela Mitchell, executive director of the Louisiana Press Association in Baton Rouge. “What a day maker!”

Meanwhile, on September 11, the Journal-Times in Grayson, Ky., tied a public notice into a story on a request for an increase in water rates from the Rattlesnake Ridge Water District. “In a public notice published in today’s issue of the Journal-Times, the district outlined a proposed across-the-board rate increase of 29 percent for all customers,” wrote staff writer Joe Lewis.

And in Cape Girardeau, Mo., a story by Erin Ragan in the Southeast Missourian reports on a plan by the city to obtain a community development block grant for its planned business park. “A legal notice published in Wednesday’s Southeast Missourian indicated the city soon will request a release of grant funds from the Missouri Department of Economic Development,” Ragan wrote.

Tearsheets from the August 21 issue of the Advocate are available here.
Rattlesnake Ridge seeks 29% water rate increase – The Journal-Times, Grayson, Ky., (9.11.2013)
City applies for grant for business-park development – The Southeast Missourian, Cape Girardeau, Mo., (9.13.2013)

South Carolina Press Launches Best Public Notice Story Contest
Bill Rogers and the South Carolina Press Association (SCPA) are turning up the fire on newsrooms, urging reporters across the state not to overlook one of the best sources of news available: the public notices in their own newspapers. And he’s backing it up with cash for the best story developed from a public notice ad.

Rogers, executive director of the SCPA, says the idea for the new contest category and cash prize stems from a discussion at the National Newspaper Association, which is considering a similar national contest.

“If you aren’t reading your own legal ads for story leads, you are missing the boat,” Rogers says. “It doesn’t take long for an editor or reporter to scan the legals.”

SCPA does have an ulterior motive in starting this contest, Rogers says. “We think it will show legislators the importance of public notice advertising in newspapers, as demonstrated by published stories resulting from them. Each year we have to fight to keep public notice from moving to the Internet, which is a terrible idea on so many levels. The most basic one is that few will read online legal notices.”

State Press Associations’ Highlight Public Notice
The Hoosier State Press Association has launched an improved online clearinghouse of Indiana public notice advertisements. In an editorial, The Madison Courier notes that the publication of notices in newspapers and on their websites puts information about local, county and state government in places where people are likely to find it. The press association website is at www.indianapublicnotices.com.

Press association offers online site for public notice ads – The Madison Courier (8.30.2013)

The Ohio Newspaper Association will host a seminar on Ohio’s public notice laws on October 2 in Pickerington, Ohio. The program is a repeat of ONA’s popular 2012 program that will guide newspapers through all the changes and latest developments on Ohio’s public notice laws, report on pending litigation that could affect what newspapers qualify to publish notices, and explain what ONA members should do when they face new competition.

To register, visit the ONA website at http://www.ohionews.org/public-notices/publicnoticelawstraining/

The South Dakota Newspaper Association will celebrate its statewide “Public Notices Month” in October. A main thrust of the month will be to engage newspaper readers and others (legislators, local government leaders, etc.) about the importance of public notices in the newspaper, especially the role that public notices play in helping to inform the public and support good government at all levels. The observance will include materials that all member newspapers can use and ideas for marking the event locally.

Few Federal Agencies Prepared for Network Impact of Big Five IT Solutions
A new study by MeriTalk examines how the implementation of the Big Five – data center consolidation, mobility, security, big data, and cloud computing – will affect Federal agency networks. According to the report, Federal agencies plan to fully deploy the Big Five in the next two years but their networks aren’t prepared for the additional capacity or complexity, which will result in network bottlenecks. Just 12% of network managers say their agency is completely prepared for the infrastructure requirements of the Big Five. Network managers report that their agency will face security risks (70%), bandwidth limitations (54%), network latency (46%) and storage limitations (42%).

Few Federal Agencies Prepared for the Network Impact of the Big Five IT Solutions (9.9.2013)

State Legislation

With only six states currently in Session, there is not much new legislation to report.  However, five states (Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Montana and Tennessee) have already begun the prefiling process.  For a comprehensive list of important public notice bills, visit the PNRC website at:  http://www.pnrc.net/subscriber-resources/state-legislative-chart/ 

Fall assignment at Statehouse: Stay alert – Ohio Newspaper Association (9.6.2013)

Articles & Editorials

A traffic concurrency test for a mixed-use construction project has “passed” successfully, but the city has not provided adequate public notice of the test, the Kirkland (Wash.) Reporter says. In an editorial, the newspaper says there was no notice published in the Seattle Times, no notice posted on the property, no mailing to neighbors and no online updates through the community Listserv.
Public says ‘no’ to traffic from Path America’s Potala Village, Kirkland Aqua – Kirkland Reporter (8.27.2013)

Fernandina Beach, Fla., has repaid about $732,000 in water and sewer impact fees to developers, construction companies and others after the city’s attorney discovered that the city did not properly follow a state law that requires notifying the public of plans to increase the fees. A state law requires that plans for the increases, which began in 2009 and continued into this year, should have been published 90 days before the City Commission considered acting. The oversight was found as the city prepared to defend itself in an unrelated class action lawsuit.
Fernandina Beach refunds about $732k in impact fees after discovering public-notice snafu – The Florida Times Union, Jacksonville, Fla., (8.30.2013)

Changes to state legislation in Queensland, Australia, have given local governments more authority over how they conduct business, including enabling councils to change certain policies without publishing public notices in newspapers.
New law allows council changes without public notices – Fraser Coast Chronicle (9.6.2013)
Law change means council can change policy without notice – Bundaberg News-Mail (9.7.2013)


August 2013

Featured Issues Regarding Public Notices

Sheriff Finds Newspaper Public Notice Reaches People Better Than Websites
A South Carolina sheriff tested whether a public notice printed in a newspaper or a public notice posted on a website received more views.  The result:  an overwhelming majority of people responded to the notice printed in the newspaper.  The story was highlighted in both the Illinois Press Association monthly publication PressLines and the Missouri Press Association monthly Bulletin.

Score one for newspapers – The Norfolk Daily News (8.7.2013)

UPDATE – Murfreesboro Plaintiffs Appealing to state Supreme Court
The Tennessee Supreme Court has been asked to review whether adequate public notice was given before approving plans for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.  PNRC filed an amicus brief in the case.  A copy may be found at:  http://www.pnrc.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Amicus-Brief-filed-2-2-13.pdf

Tennessee Mosque Opponents Appealing to State Supreme Court – WKU Public Radio (7.30.2013)
County asks state Supreme Court to reject hearing for mosque case appeal – The Daily News Journal (8.12.2013)
Murfreesboro mosque court fight heats up again – The Tennessean (8.13.2013)

Despite Federal Initiative to Expand Access to Broadband, Studies Show that 28% of American Adults Still Do Not Use the Internet at Home
In 2009, the Obama administration invested in a $7 billion project to increase access to broadband.  However, experts say that not much has changed in the last four years.  This article highlights how the 60 million people who are not online have a major hurdle to cross, in terms of finding employment, access to government services, health care and education.  Further, it offers reasons why people are not online, often because of costs.

“Persistent digital inequality — caused by the inability to afford Internet service, lack of interest or a lack of computer literacy — is also deepening racial and economic disparities in the United States, experts say.”

Most of U.S. Is Wired, but Millions Aren’t Plugged In – New York Times (8.18.2013)

NTIA & Dept. of Commerce Report — A collaboration by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Economics and Statistics Administration, finds in this updated report that more than a quarter of American citizens still do not have Internet access at home.  The study offers a wide breadth of demographic information about Internet users.  Interestingly, the report compares the Internet to print media in terms of civic engagement.

“The Internet may be significantly more effective than television – and closer to traditional print media and radio – in encouraging civic engagement, particularly in light of the Internet’s emergence as a news medium. (p. 14)”

Exploring the Digital Nation: America’s Emerging Online Experience (May 2013)

Pew Research Center Report — A nationally representative survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project finds once again that age, education and household income are strong factors as to who may or may not have home broadband.  Based on a telephone survey earlier this year, the study found, similar to the study by the Department of Commerce & NTIA, that more than a quarter of Americans do not have Internet access at home.  However, the Pew study also concluded that twenty-percent of American citizens have neither broadband access nor a smartphone.

Home Broadband 2013 (8.26.2013)

Congressional Research Service Report — A report by the Congressional Research Service, the policy and legal analysts for Congress, seeks to provide a pro/con argument on how to close the “digital divide” while balancing the interests of the federal government and the private sector.  Of note, the report includes a table with percentage of households with broadband connections by state and a separate table with the percentage of households without broadband access by state, with a breakdown of rural versus non-rural areas.

Broadband Internet Access and the Digital Divide: Federal Assistance Programs (7.17.2013)

Cisco & ITU/UNESCO Report The importance of a national broadband plan for the United States in comparison to other nations around the world is the focus of this article and study.  The report by The Broadband Commission for Digital Development, finds that twenty countries have made Internet access a right – either a basic legal right, citizen’s right or constitutional right.

“The OECD notes that affordable access to basic communication services irrespective of income, location and physical ability have been considered a crucial component leading to greater social equality, leading “some to conclude that universal service or its components are a basic right”, as the inability to access or use a given telecommunication service could create social exclusion.”

National plan fosters broadband – The Hill (8.13.2013)
Planning for Progress – Why National Broadband Plans Matter (2013)

Federal Agencies Lack Confidence in Authenticity of Electronic Technology
As governments paper over the authenticity problems with web-based public notice, they speak from the other sides of their mouths when questioning electronic voting.

E-Voting: It May Be a While (8.13.2013)

International – UK Newspapers Win Fight to Keep Public Notices From Moving to a Government Website
Newspapers in the United Kingdom won an important victory defeating a move of public notices from newspapers onto a government website.  Using similar arguments of accountability and accessibility, the newspapers were able to prove the value of public notice in a newspaper.

“Meanwhile, in a debate at the House of Lords yesterday (Wednesday), Baroness Hanham argued against removing public notices from newspapers, claiming they were “vital for local transparency and accountability.”

She cited Newspaper Society research which found that the reach of local newspapers was significantly higher than the reach of council websites, with 67pc of people having read a paper within the last week compared to just nine per cent of people who had viewed the council website.

The study also found 7.1million adults in the UK had never accessed the internet at all, while 34pc had not been on the internet for over a year.

“There are quite a lot of people, therefore, who do not, would not and could not use the internet for these notices,” she said.

Plans to Take Alcohol Notices Out of Papers Dropped – HoldTheFrontPage.co.uk (7.18.2013)

State Legislation

For a comprehensive list of important public notice bills, visit the PNRC website at:  http://www.pnrc.net/subscriber-resources/state-legislative-chart/

2014 – Already two bills will be introduced in the 2014 Wyoming legislature that will limit newspaper notice and instead permit notice of government notice on a municipal or county website.
Committee moves forward with legal notice changes – The Sheridan Press (8.6.2013)
Proposed bills to push more legal notices online – Wyoming Tribune Eagle (8.18.2013)

New Jersey – AB 3035
Notice of self-storage lien procedures may now be sent via email, after AB 3035 was signed into law.  The measure has already taken effect.
New Jersey Governor Signs Updated Self Storage Lien Law With Benefits for Facility Operators (8.12.2013)


July 2013

Featured Issues Regarding Public Notices

30% of Americans Do Not Use the Internet, Finds the Census Bureau
The Census Bureau issued updated demographic data about computer and Internet use in their most recent report, Computer and Internet Use In the United States, and found that 30 percent of Americans do not use the Internet, even though half of those people have a computer at home.  The breadth of statistical information in the report includes computer use delineated by age, race, sex, household income, and by state, among other factors.  The report also includes maps of connectivity by state, finding that twenty-one states had lower percentages of no connectivity than the national average of 15.9 percent.  The findings are based on a July 2011 supplemental to their Current Population Survey.
Computer and Internet Use in the United States – May 2013
Inter-nyet Report says three Arizonans in 10 have no Internet access – AZ Capitol Times (6.11.2013)

Government Agencies Unprepared to Recover Data if Disaster Strikes
A report by MeriTalk revealed that only 8% of Federal IT executives could recover 100% of their data in the event of a disaster.  Respondents revealed that they do not test systems as often as they should. Further, recovery and resilience problems are expected to worsen, especially coupled with shrinking federal budgets.  According to the report, by 2015 federal agencies expect a 39% growth in the amount of data that must be backed up and most agencies are simply not prepared to meet those storage needs.
New Report: Few Government Agencies Prepared to Recover their Data in the Event of a Natural or Man-Made Disaster (6.3.2013)

The Postal Service Knows Not Everyone Wants to Conduct Business Online
The United States Postal Service in a recent report acknowledged that many citizens, particularly in rural America, do not have access to the Internet and prefer not to use electronic resources to complete many government transactions, such as tax returns.  Further, the report acknowledges that access to broadband is insufficient in many parts of the country as well.
e-Government and the Postal Service – A Conduit to Help Government Meet Citizens’ Needs (1.7.2013)

Renters and the Foreclosure Crisis
Renters are disproportionately affected by foreclosures because most mortgages don’t provide for notice to tenants.  Although it is not certain how many tenants have been evicted without any prior public notice, newspaper notice provides at last some additional measure of transparency.
Report shows another casualty of foreclosure crisis: renters – Chicago Muckrakers (6.25.2013)

Newspaper Notice and the Federal Immigration Bill
Under the proposed immigration law that has now passed the Senate, employers must place an advertisement to hire non-immigrants for 30 days either on the website of the Secretary of Labor or with the workforce agency in the state where the job is located.  Then, the employer must recruit in three different places of their choosing.  Options include, but are not limited to, a newspaper, job fair, vocational training school, etc. as defined by the Secretary of Homeland Security. (Pages 1079 – 1081 of the bill version as passed by the Senate).
S 744 – Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act

Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act
Nevada has become the 8th state to enact the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act after Governor Brian Sandoval signed SB 105 into law in late May.  California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, North Dakota and Oregon have already enacted UELMA laws.

Court Permits Legal Notice Through Online Message Board
The British Columbia Supreme Court permitted service to 7 out of 18 individuals via private message on an online forum.  The court and lawyers acknowledged that this was a novel way to serve notice in the Internet age.  However, many have cited the numerous problems including how to ensure the notice is read and ensuring the person who is to be served is the actual recipient, not a large server.  So far, the administrators of the message boards have declined to reveal the identities of the individuals.
B.C. Supreme Court allows legal notice to be served online in Brian Burke defamation case – Globe and Mail (5.29.2013)

State Legislation
For a comprehensive list of important public notice bills, visit the PNRC website at:  http://www.pnrc.net/subscriber-resources/state-legislative-chart/

Connecticut – SB 902 & SB 1112 (DEAD)
Two proposals reducing the amount of information provided for municipal legal notices remained at the Committee level when the legislature adjourned.
Legal notice mandate could change – ReminderNews (5.13.2013)
Legal Notices Bill Stays Alive – CT New Junkie (5.31.2013)
Don’t weaken public notice requirements – Minuteman News Center (5.15.2013)
Panel calls to end legal notices in newspapers – Journal Inquirer (5.22.2013)

North Carolina – H 243 (Enacted into Law) & S 287 (Placed on Calendar 7/26/2013)
Self-storage law in North Carolina has been amended to now permit the notice of sale in a newspaper OR “in any other commercially reasonable manner.  The manner of advertisement shall be deemed commercially reasonable if at least three independent bidders attend the sale at the time and place advertised…”

Other threats to legal notice were averted.  S 287 would have permitted notice by cities and counties to be posted online.  The bill successfully passed the Senate in late April.  While in the General Assembly, Rep. Marilyn Avila offered an amendment that effectively replaced the entire bill and put notices back in newspapers and onto newspaper websites.  The language was similar to bills that recently passed in Florida and Tennessee.  The amendment passed the House, however the bill was not ratified before the legislature adjourned.
NC newspapers tout win over public notice bill – Businessweek (5.20.2013)
Two lawmakers do right thing in regard to public notices – Shelby Star (5.20.2013)

Michigan – HB 4298 (referred to second reading 6.13.2013)
A proposal has been introduced to remove newspaper publication of notices for delinquent taxes on property and allow notice to be posted on a website maintained by the County Treasurer.

Oregon – SB 28 (DEAD)
A bill that would have authorized public notice of criminal and civil forfeiture as well as intent to dispose of unclaimed property on an Internet site maintained by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission.  The bill did not proceed past the Committee level before the legislature adjourned.

Articles & Editorials

Failure to publish a newspaper notice in Oklahoma may invalidate an election that has already cost the county $25,000.
Recent county tax vote could be invalid – Claremore Daily(5.16.2013)

Matt Walsh, Chair of the Florida Press Association, and a member of the board of directors of American Court and Commercial Newspapers, published an editorial outlining the public notice bills that came up before the Florida legislature, addressing the problems with the proposals, and thanking the policymakers for protecting public notices.
Preserving Public Notice & Floridians’ Right to Know – Sun Sentinel (6.4.2013)

In a collaborative effort, the Wyoming County Commissioners Association, Association of Municipalities and Press Association have agreed to work together to study existing public notice laws.
Wyoming lawmakers discuss changing legal notices laws – Star Tribune (5.30.2013)

Another case of hacking may have released social security and driver license information affecting upwards of a million people.
Washington Courts Announce Potential Massive Data Breach – KUOW (5.9.2013)

County law director recommends that elected officials give more notice before holding public meetings.
Knox law director urges more notice of meetings – Dyersburg State Gazette (6.8.2013)

Generic meeting notices are insufficient to providing public notice, wrote Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin.
R.I. public bodies now on notice to post complete agendas – Providence Journal (6.13.2013)


May 2013

Featured Issues Regarding Public Notices

Legal Notice via Facebook?
As many states have faced legislative challenges to move public notices from newspapers to government websites, now it appears some want to move notices to the realm of social networking.

Texas has introduced legislation (HB 1989) that would allow legal service on parties in a lawsuit via a social media website (i.e., Facebook, MySpace, etc.) if the judge finds the defendant had sufficient contacts with that site.  The bill is currently in Committee and has not yet seen much action.

Further, courts in both Minnesota, Mpafe v. Mpafe (2011 – Minnesota County of Hennepin Fourth Judicial District Family Court Division), and more recently New York, F.T.C. v. PCCare247 Inc. (2013 – Southern District of New York,) have found that notice of a suit is permissible via e-mail, social media or another Internet website.  The Minnesota judge held that service by publication in a newspaper would not be the best method of service in this family law proceeding:

“The Rules of Civil Procedure permit service by publication.  While the Court considered publication in a legal newspaper, it is unlikely that Respondent would ever see this.  It is more likely that Respondent could receive notice on the internet.  The traditional way to get service by publication is antiquated and is prohibitively expensive.  Service is critical, and technology provides a cheaper and hopefully more effective way of finding Respondent.”

Legal notice via Facebook message – Minnesota Lawyer (4.26.2013)

Additionally, the Securities and Exchange Commission released a ruling permitting companies to communicate with investors via Facebook and Twitter so long as they disclose which outlet they will use.

SEC Says Companies Can Use Social Media to Alert Investors – Wall Street Journal (4.2.2013)

Although there have been no major efforts to move public notices from newspapers to social networking sites yet, with some discussion and action in the legislative, judicial and federal administrative agencies, it seems likely we may see some movement in this direction in the future.

For more information on this subject, the Spring 2012 Reynolds Courts & Media Law Journal offers an informative article by John G. Browning, “Your Facebook Status Served”:  Service of Process Using Social Networking Sites.  The law review article details the success and failures of allowing service via social media in countries that have already implemented and the due process implications inherent in this form of notice.

State Legislation
For a comprehensive list of important public notice bills, visit the PNRC website at:  http://www.pnrc.net/subscriber-resources/state-legislative-chart/

California – AB 642 (DEAD, Hearing cancelled at request of author – 5.7.2013)
A bill promoted by AOL’s Patch that would permit a newspaper that is available on a web site to qualify as a newspaper of general circulation for the purpose of publishing public notices has been defeated.

Organized Labor Joins Newspaper Opposition To Online Public Notice Bill – Los Cerritos News (4.11.2013)

Connecticut – SB 902 (Moved to Foot of the Calendar, Senate – 5.14.2013)
A proposal has been introduced to allow a brief summary of the matter being noticed and a reference to the appropriate Government website instead of requiring a legal notice from a town, city or borough to be published in a newspaper.  Additionally, the bill would allow daily and free newspapers to publish notices.

Where Do You Read Ledyard’s Public Notices? – Leadyard Patch (5.8.2013)
Limiting public access isn’t good public policy – Norwich Bulletin (4.22.2013)
Keep public notices in newspapers – Courant (5.3.2013)

Michigan – SB 8 (Headed to House floor, PASSED House Committee, PASSED Senate – 5.9.2013)
Legislation to revise the definition of a newspaper to include an online version only if a print copy does not exist unanimously passed the House Local Government Committee and now heads to the floor for a full vote by the House.  The Senate has already approved the proposal

The bill specifically requires the Internet website to be an online version of a previous newspaper and requires the retention of a printed copy for archival and verification purposes. This bill is supported by the press association.

Nevada – AB 4 & AB 267 (DEAD, Failed to make an April 12 Deadline)
AB 4 – A bill to reduce the amount of newspaper public notice has been defeated.

AB 267 – A bill that would allow for online notice on a website controlled by a newspaper or a broadcaster in lieu of notice published in a newspaper has been defeated.

North Carolina –SB 287 (Re-Referred to Committee; PASSED Senate – 5.15.2013); SB 186 (Referred to Committee – 3.6.2013)
SB 287 – A broad based bill to allow notice on a government site instead of published notice in a newspaper.  The bill has already passed the Senate.

SB 186 – Proposal that would allow notices by counties and cities to be posted online on a government website instead of in a newspaper.

These bills sparked a great deal of controversy within the state as North Carolina Press Association fought to point out serious flaws in the bills.

Public notice bill passes Senate – Sun Journal (4.24.2013)
Public notice change gets OK from Senate – Richmond County Daily Journal (4.23.2013)
Public notice bill moves foward – The Laurinburg Exchange (4.23.2013)
NC Senate gives initial OK on legal notice options – The Associated Press (4.23.2013)
NC Senate ok’s bill to allow online public notice – News Record (4.24.2013)

Additionally, here is a sampling of editorials from North Carolina about the importance of public notices in newspapers:

Public notices for everyone, not just those online – Star News Online (4.12.2013)
Keep public notices public – The Sampson Independent (4.17.2013)
Public notice bills threaten people’s right to know – News of Orange (4.17.2013)
Legislature must not scrap public notices – Hickory Daily Record (4.19.2013)
City declines to support public notice bill – Mount Airy News (4.20.2013)

South Carolina – H 3563 & S 513 (Language to Eliminate Newspaper Notice Removed – 4.25.2013)
The storage association agreed to remove language in the proposed legislation that would have eliminated publication in a newspaper for self-storage notices.

Texas – HB 335 (Committee Report Sent to Calendars – 5.3.2013)
Allows a political subdivision to post legal notices on its own website.

Proposed public notice bill threat to government transparency – Your Houston News (4.25.2013)

Articles & Editorials

Municipal notices in Canada received a makeover to make them easier to read and encourage people to get involved in their local government.
New, easier-to-read look for Courtenay’s public notices – Comox Valley Echo (4.9.2013)

Articles that direct attention to the public notices in your newspaper are a great way to inform the public.
Public notices highlight insurance companies’ financial condition – Rapid City Journal (5.7.2013)

Two editorials from Florida on the importance of public notice:
Keep public notice in print, online – The Ledger (4.9.2013)
Preserve public notice and our property rights – Tallahassee Democrat (4.5.2013)

An attempt by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in their budget proposal to remove notices announcing the sale of state owned timber from the newspaper was recently defeated.  Here is an excellent editorial explaining why this proposal was bad public policy.
Public notices for timber sales should stay in DNR’s budget – Vernon Broadcaster (5.8.2013)


April 2013

Featured Issues Regarding Public Notices

Tennessee
Legislation to require all public notices to be published for free on a statewide website recently passed the House by a vote of 94-1.  The bill, backed by the Tennessee Press Association, passed the Senate earlier by a vote of 31-1 and is now headed to the Governor’s desk for ratification.
Public notice bills OK’d – Cleveland Daily Banner (4.1.2013)
Press association introduces public notice legislation – The Murfreesboro Post (3.14.2013)
Public notice bill heads to a floor vote– The Tennessean (3.13.2013)
Senate OKs requirement that newspapers post notices online – Knoxville News Sentinel (3.14.2013)
Tenn House sends public notice bill to governor – BusinessWeek (3.26.2013)

Connecticut
The Connecticut Daily Newspaper Association, comprising the 16 daily newspapers in Connecticut, began an ad campaign on April 1.  The two month long campaign seeks to educate the public about the importance of public notices in the wake of a legislative proposal to move notices from newspapers to government websites.

California
The California Newspaper Publishers Association has launched a public notice website compiling public notices throughout the state following their publication in newspapers.  CNPA hopes to have the site fully populated in the near future.

Michigan
A hearing was held in early April on government notices and publication in the House Local Government Committee.  Michigan Press Association offered testimony about the importance of public notices and declaring  its support for SB 8, a bill that would revise the definition of a newspaper to include an online version, so long as it meets certain criteria.  SB 8 has already passed the Senate.

Congressional Record – House Resolution 97
Rep. Sean P. Duffy (WI-7) and Rep. Michael Michaud (ME-2) submitted a resolution in early March expressing the reasons why public notices, among other things, should remain in a paper based format.  The resolution has two additional co-sponsors, Rep. Bonner (AL-1) and Rep. Fleming (LA-4), and has been referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Readership Survey – Newspaper Association of America
The Newspaper Association of America has released the results of its annual readership survey.  Findings of particular significance include, 69% of adults and 59% of young adults read a newspaper in print or online in a typical week. Full results of the survey may be found on the NAA website.
Across platforms, 7 in 10 adults access content from newspaper media each week

Newspaper Website Survey
A report by the Media Audit revealed the importance of newspaper websites in reaching consumers.  For example, “Ann Arbor, Michigan’s Annarbor.com/Mlive.com, reaches 54.9% of the local metro area’s population in a typical 30 day period…Adding to its relevance is that the newspaper’s website, when added to the reach of the printed edition, increases the newspaper’s total net reach by 29%.”
Study Reveals Top Newspaper Websites – The Media Audit (March 2013)

Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act
UELMA legislation has now been introduced in twelve states this year, with two bills already enacted by the Governors of Minnesota and North Dakota.
Colorado (H.B. 1182)
Connecticut (S.B. 235)
Hawaii (H.B. 18/S.B. 32)
Illinois (S.B. 1941)
Massachusetts (H.B. 26 & H.B. 38)
Minnesota – Signed by Governor (H.B. 278/S.B. 157)
Missouri (S.B. 478)
Nevada (S.B. 105)
North Dakota – Signed by Governor (H.B. 1129)
Oregon (H.B. 2944)
Pennsylvania (S.B. 601)
Rhode Island (H.B. 5850)

State Legislation
For a comprehensive list of important public notice bills, visit the PNRC website at:  http://www.pnrc.net/subscriber-resources/state-legislative-chart/

Connecticut – SB 1112 (Placed on Senate calendar 4.9.2013)
A proposal, SB 1112, has been introduced that would authorize municipalities to publish shorter legal notices in the newspaper.
Legislation would cut back on legal notices – Journal Inquirer (3.30.2013)

Florida – SB 1666 (On Committee Agenda 4.10.2013)
A bill that would move notice of foreclosure sales from a newspaper to a website maintained by the clerk of the court has been introduced.
Senate bill would limit public access to legal notices – StAugustine.com (3.24.2013)
Keep foreclosure notices in newspapers – The Miami Herald (3.21.2013)

Maryland – HB 1136 (Referred to interim study 3.18.2013) & SB 523 (Unfavorable Report by Committee, Withdrawn 3.20.2013)
Two bills introduced that would authorize a county or municipality to publish legal notices on a website instead of in a newspaper.
Local governments fight requirement for public notices in newspapers, but publishers push back – Maryland Reporter (3.6.2013)

Minnesota – SF 1430 (Referred to Committee 3.18.2013)
Broad based bill that would allow for Internet posting instead of newspaper publication of public notices.

Nevada – AB 267 (Referred to Committee 3.18.2013)
A bill that would allow for online notice on a website controlled by a newspaper or a broadcaster in lieu of notice published in a newspaper.

North Carolina – H 243 (Referred to Committee 4.4.2013; PASSED House 4.3.2013)
Self-storage legislation that would permit the notice of sale to be either in a newspaper or in a “commercially reasonable manner.”

North Carolina – SB 186 (Referred to Committee 3.6.2013)
Proposal that would allow notices by counties and cities to be posted online instead of in a newspaper.
Newspapers face potential loss of public notice $$ – News-Record (3.6.2013)
Senate Bill seeks to place public notices online – The News Reporter, Whiteville (3.15.2013)
City board delays action on public notice issue – Mt. Airy News (4.5.2013)

Texas – HB 335 (Committee Meeting Scheduled 3.18.2013)
Allows a political subdivision to post legal notices on its own website.
Keep public notices public – The Statesmen (3.23.2013)

Texas – HB 3646 (Committee Meeting Scheduled 4.1.2013)
Broad based bill that would allow any governmental entity to post their notice on a website.
Public notices – Houston Chronicle (3.29.2013)

Articles & Editorials
Legislation in Arizona to remove public notices from newspapers faced significant action in 2013.  The abundance of articles and editorials on the issue – a sampling from March is below – helped in the final push to defeat the bills this session.

A legislative Committee has been formed to look into moving notices online in Wyoming.  The group has called upon the Wyoming Press Association to work with the Wyoming Association of Municipalities and the Wyoming County Commissioners Association in the hopes of developing a compromise.
Lawmakers study legal notices in newspapers – Wyoming Tribune Eagle (3.20.2013

A well written editorial from West Virginia discussing what are public notices and why it is important to keep them in newspapers.
Keep public notices in local newspapers – Logan Banner (3.22.2013)

South Carolina Press Association Executive Director Bill Rogers highlighted the issue of public notices during Sunshine Week.
Newspapers best way to publish public notices – Anderson Independent (3.12.2013)

Below, an editorial referencing Utah self-storage legislation (SB 182), a proposal that would remove newspaper notice of self-storage facilities and allow for notice to be advertised merely in a commercially reasonable manner.
Notice critical with storage – Standard Examiner (3.7.2013)

In response to a series of proposals introduced earlier this year in Arkansas, an editorial by Arkansas Press Association Executive Director Tom Larimer on the importance of keeping public notices in newspapers.
Public notices have to be credible – The Courier (3.1.2013)


March 2013 

Featured Issues Regarding Public Notices

National Newspaper Association Readership Survey Released
The National Newspaper Association has released its 2012 Community Newspaper Readership Survey.  The survey, conducted in small towns and cities in the U.S., found that 71 percent of respondents read a community newspaper at least once a week.  Other findings of particular interest include 78 percent of respondents “think governments should be required to publish public notices in newspapers.  Further, 85 percent of respondents said they had never visited their local Chamber of Commerce website.  For more information on the survey, visit the NNA website.

AOL’s Patch Wants Official Newspaper Status
A bill promoted by AOL’s Patch has been introduced in the California Legislature. It would be the first in a major state to allow online newspapers to provide the official record. The bill addresses issues commonly of concern in digital formatting, including archiving. The California Newspaper Publishers Association opposes the bill.
Public Notice Threat Introduced in Assembly – CNPA (3.4.2013)

Federal Broadband Plan Doesn’t Provide Consistent Access to Rural America
Despite $7.2 billion of federal stimulus dollars allotted for increasing access to broadband in rural areas, the reality has not meant equal access for all.  The disparity in access across rural America has been questioned by the federal government and confused many citizens who were looking forward to greater broadband access.
Gaps Persist in High-Speed Web Access – Wall Street Journal (2.24.2013)

GAO Report Finds Failure of Public Notice
“35 percent of major rules and about 44 percent of nonmajor rules” between 2003 and 2010 failed to receive public notice, according to a recent GAO report.  Despite federal law generally requiring public notice of regulations to allow interested parties the opportunity to comment, the federal government can invoke an exception of “good cause” when it believes comments are unnecessary, impractical or against the public interest.
Thirty-five Percent of Major Regulations Were Issued Without Public Notice – The New American (2.14.2013)

Tennessee Public Notice Week
The third annual Tennessee Public Notice Week was held from January 20-26.  A very successful campaign initiated by the Tennessee Press Association, the purpose is to encourage newspapers to devote as much time as possible to public notices while legislators are home in their districts for an organizational period.  The extra exposure has also prompted many constituents to contact their legislators and ask them to protect public notices in newspapers.  Newspapers are further encouraged to run these timeless materials throughout the year as space permits.  For a sampling of the op-eds, advertisements and editorial cartoons used, visit the TPA website.

Illinois Public Notice Website
Illinois has launched PublicNoticeIllinois.com, a website run by the Illinois Press Association that aggregates public notices in Illinois, after they have been published in a newspaper.  The notices will be searchable by newspaper, community or keyword.  Already, the program is being used as a model for other states, including Ohio and California.
Illinois newspapers launch new, free public notice website – Daily Republican Register (2.12.2013)
Legal notices get public airing through paper – Pantagraph (2.12.2013)

State Legislation
For a comprehensive list of important public notice bills, visit the PNRC website at:  http://www.pnrc.net/subscriber-resources/state-legislative-chart/

Arizona – H 2533 (Held in Committee 2.19.2013); H 2483 (PASSED from Comm. 2.14.2013)
H 2533 would allow cities and towns to post public notices online instead of publishing in a newspaper.  The bill was passed out of one Committee, but subsequently is being held in another Committee.

H 2483 would change the basic definition of a newspaper and is intended to allow publication of public notices in other forms, including the Internet.
Keeping notices in newspapers about transparency – Arizona Daily Sun (2.27.2013)
Our view: Do Not take needed bright light off of government – East Valley Tribune (2.27.2013)
Two public notice bills bad for taxpayers – Arizona Range News (2.27.2013)
Media outlets, state house committee spar over public notice bill; online-only effort passes committee – East Valley Tribune (2.15.2013)
House panel OK’s bills on newspaper public notices – KTAR (2.14.2013)

Arkansas – HJR 1007 (Introduced 2.13.2013)
HJR 1007 is a constitutional amendment that would potentially remove the requirement to publish in Arkansas newspapers proposed constitutional amendments and other elections-related notices.  Instead, it would give each General Assembly the latitude to determine the manner in which the proposed amendments would be communicated to the voters of Arkansas. It also amends other constitutionally-required publication of notices in Arkansas newspapers, including the sale of bonds and the conduct of elections.

Arkansas – HB 1488/HB 1493/HB 1494/HB 1495 (Introduced 2.26.2013)
A series of proposals in Arkansas would require the Secretary of State to create an online public notice calendar for posting of public notices that are now required by law to be printed in a newspaper.

California – AB 642 (Read for first time 2.21.2013)
A bill promoted by AOL’s Patch that would permit a newspaper that is available on a web site to qualify as a newspaper of general circulation for the purpose of publishing public notices.

Illinois – HB 1260 (Referred to Committee 2.20.2013)
An amendment to the Notice by Publication Act, this bill would allow government agencies to post a public notice on a government website instead of in a newspaper.

Maryland – HB 1136/SB 523 (First reading 2.8.2013)
Two bills introduced that would authorize a county or municipality to publish legal notices on a website instead of in a newspaper.

Massachusetts – HB 1586 (Referred to Committee 1.22.2013)
A proposal to allow government agencies and individuals to post a public notice on a government website instead of publishing in a newspaper if certain criteria are met.

Michigan – SB 7 & SB 8 (Referred to H Committee; PASSED Senate 2.5.2013)
A pair of bills that would revise the definition of a newspaper to include an online version, so long as it meets certain criteria, and permit publishing of legal notices for public auction sale of surplus lands.

Nevada – AB 4 & AB 75 (Read for first time 2.4.2013)
Two bills have been introduced in Nevada to reduce the amount of newspaper public notice.  Although the scope of AB 4 has been narrowed by Amendment, the scope of AB 75 has been expanded.

New Mexico – HB 577 (Referred to Committee 2.13.2013)
A broad based legislative proposal to permit publication of legal notices on an authorized website.

South Carolina – H 3427 (Referred to Committee 1.30.2013)
A legislative proposal to authorize a county to post certain notices required by law on a county website instead of publishing in a newspaper.
Bill Would End Public Notices in Newspapers – Free Times (2.6.2013)

Tennessee – HB 1001/SB 461 (Placed on Sub-Committee Calendar 2.27.2013)
A proposal that would require legal and public notices to be both published in a newspaper of general circulation and posted on a website maintained by the Tennessee Press Association.
Editorial – Public notice bill is best solution – Independent Herald (2.26.2013)
Public notices should be available to everyone – The Tennessean (2.15.2013)
Let’s Make Public Notices Available to Everyone – Memphis Daily News (2.15.2013)

Utah – SB 182 (Second reading 2.26.2013)
A proposal has been introduced that would remove newspaper notice of self-storage facilities and allow for notice to be advertised merely in a commercially reasonable manner.  Notice is deemed satisfied if three independent bidders attend the sale.

Articles & Editorials

One Florida county is proposing to reduce the number of public notices for delinquent taxpayers to save money.
County considers reducing public notice on delinquent taxes – The News Herald (2.12.2013)

County Commissioners in a North Dakota county agreed to retroactively issue notice at a public meeting where notice failed to be published.
Burleigh County issues ‘retroactive meeting’ notice – The Bismarck Tribune (2.4.2013)

Legislation to create a public notice website in Guam is still moving forward despite lobbying by newspapers.
Bill would let agencies use website for public notices – Pacific Daily News (2.7.2013)

A Texas editorial on why it is a bad idea to support legislation that would permit cities, counties, school districts and other entities to post notices about meetings, taxes and procurements on their websites.
A bad idea – Stickland bill would place all trust for public notices in government’s hands – Waco Tribune-Herald (2.5.2013)

The price of legal notices has increased by $50 per ad in one newspaper.  Although this is the first price increase in eight years, the Hamilton County Chancery Court in Chatanooga, Tennessee is considering moving the notices to a smaller and cheaper newspaper.
Legal notices for court action are under review – Times Free Press (2.8.2013)

Hawaii story calls out legislature for failing to properly provide notice of bills being considered in a timely manner.
Legislature rules for public notice already getting sidestepped – iLind (2.3.2013)

The Virginia legislature has now wrapped up their business for the year and all six of the public notice bills that came up for consideration were defeated.
Last of 6 Public Notice bills fails in Senate – Smith Mountain Eagle (2.22.2013)
Public notice bill fails in Senate – The Tidewater News (2.25.2013)


February 2013

Featured Issues Regarding Public Notices

Tennessee
PNRC filed an amicus brief before the Tennessee Court of Appeals in the challenge of a Chancery Court judge’s finding that in matters of controversy, a local newspaper is not an adequate public notice vehicle.  Download a copy of the brief here.

Ohio
The Ohio Newspaper Association (ONA) has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in an appeal of In Re: Brothers Publishing Company, LLC dba The Early Bird, a dispute over qualifications to publish public notices.  ONA joins Civitas Media in arguing that the Early Bird, a weekly newspaper, failed to meet the statutory requirements because there was: “1) no distribution list, 2) no ability to add subscribers, and 3) non-compliance with the postal statement of ownership or independent audit.”  The statute defining the requirements for an Ohio newspaper to be permitted to publish public notices was revised in 2011 to include the acceptance of carrier delivery and permit free papers.
ONA backs Civitas in public notice case – Ohio Newspaper Association (1.18.2013)

Texas
A diverse coalition has been formed in Texas to highlight the importance of transparency in the public notice process.  The group, spearheaded by the Texas Press Association, includes the NAACP, ACLU, AGC, Texas Society of Architects and some environmental groups.  The coalition website provides valuable information about the importance of public notice to an informed citizenry and also serves as an advocacy tool with direct links to contact a legislator or share a personal public notice testimonial.

Facebook Legal Notice
A legal notice was issued to Facebook users informing them of their potential membership in a class action settlement.  Fraley vs. Facebook, resulted from plaintiffs’ objections to Facebook using the names and addresses of users in ads without their permission or payment simply because they “liked” a product or company on the site.  The lawsuit was settled last December for $20 million and will be distributed either to individual qualifying members or, if the demand is too great, the money will be split among 14 non-profits that work on privacy issues.
Yes, That Legal Notice You Got From Facebook Is Real – Forbes (1.26.2013)
Facebook legal notice could get you cash, so don’t trash it – PCWorld (1.28.2013)

Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act – 2013 Bills
As of February 1, five states (Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota) have introduced legislation on the Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act.  The Act, that requires official electronic legal material to be authenticated, preserved and accessible, has already been enacted by California and Colorado. For a chart tracking the legislation, click here.

Guam Public Notice Website
Senators in Guam are proposing legislation to create a “Guam Public Notice Website” and move all meeting notices currently published onto the website.
Cruz, Ada, Barnes, Propose Creation of Guam Public Notice Website – Pacific News Center (1.29.2013)

State Legislation
For a comprehensive list of important public notice bills, visit the PNRC website at:  http://www.pnrc.net/subscriber-resources/state-legislative-chart/

Colorado – HB 1064 (Killed in Committee 1.31.2013)
HB 1064, a bill that would have allowed counties to post their notices on a website in lieu of publication in a general circulation newspaper, has been killed in Committee.
Keeping public notices accessible, permanent – Boulder Daily Camera (1.25.2013)

Connecticut – HB 5530 (Public hearing scheduled 2.1.2013)
HB 5530 is a proposal to permit municipalities to post legal notices on the Internet rather than in a newspaper.
It’s Newspapers Versus Municipalities Again – CT News Junkie (2.1.2013)

New Mexico – HB 390 (Introduced 2.1.2013)
HB 390, a self-storage bill, has been introduced that would remove the requirement of newspaper notice requiring notice only via certified mail.

South Carolina – H 3427 (Committed to Committee for study 1.30.2013)
H 3427, a bill that would have moved legal notices from the newspaper onto a website, has been moved to the Judiciary Committee for further study.
Internet public notice bill sent to committee – The Times & Democrat (1.31.2013)

Virginia – HB 1823 (Passed House 2.1.2013); SB 765 (Failed to Report in Committee 2.4.2013)
After passing the House, HB 1823, a bill that would require local public bodies to post procurement notices on a government website and make newspaper publication optional, has now been introduced in the Senate. SB 765, a proposal to permit several towns to post public notices on their website instead of in newspapers, has been defeated in Committee.
House subcommittee rejects bill to change public notices – Richmond Times Dispatch (1.25.2013)
Public notice bills threaten citizens’ right to know – Chatham Star Tribune (1.24.2013)
VPA opposes moving public notices online – Rappahannock News (1.20.2013)
Editorial: Heads-up for taxpayers – The Daily Press (1.16.2013)

Articles & Editorials

Town officials in Missouri argue that a proposed digital sign would offer more public notice.  But sheriff/city manager reminds everyone that public notice in a newspaper is still required by law.
St John adds digital sign at City Hall – St. Louis Post Dispatch (1.7.2013)

A Tennessee editorial that explains to the reader what a public notice is, why it is important, and why moving notices to a government website is flawed.
Keeping people aware of what’s going on – The Paris Post-Intelligencer (1.8.2013)

While reviewing Texas HB 335, a legislative proposal to post legal notices on government websites, this article explores many of the arguments for and against public notice remaining in newspapers.
Newspaper notice law ‘horse and buggy’ thinking, Rep Strickland – Texas Watchdog (1.30.2013)


January 2013

With 43 states beginning the 2013 legislative Session by January 15, we anticipate a busy start to the New Year.  As always, please let us know how the PNRC can assist you.

Featured Issues Regarding Public Notices

Ohio
The Governor of Ohio has signed into law a bill no longer requiring self-storage facilities to place their public notices in a newspaper.  The new law merely requires the facility to place a notice in a “commercially reasonable manner” which will be presumed if “at least three independent bidders attend the sale at the time and place advertised.” We are aware that Ohio Newspaper Association put up amighty fight and may revisit the issue this year.   The PNRC anticipates that the Self Storage Association is looking to pick off other states  in 2013.  In its publications,  it regularly criticizes newspapers’ lobbying against them.
Ohio Governor Signs New Self-Storage Lien Legislation for 2013

New Mexico
While some bills are trying to eliminate public notices, there is a legislative push for more and longer notices in New Mexico.  Recognizing the importance of public participation in local government, a proposal was recently introduced that would require public bodies to publish notice of their public meetings at least 72-hours before the scheduled meeting.  Currently, the law requires only 24-hour notice.  A similar proposal was passed by the House last year, but failed to make it through the Senate.
Proposed legislation would require three days of notice before public meetings – The Santa Fe New Mexican (1.12.2013)

State Legislation
For a comprehensive list of important public notice bills, visit the PNRC website at:  http://www.pnrc.net/subscriber-resources/state-legislative-chart/

New York – AB 318, AB 1151, SB 1110 (Referred to Comm. 1.9.2013)
Three bills have been introduced that will permit municipalities, counties and school districts to post notice on a website while still maintaining the requirement to publish the notice in a newspaper.

Texas – HB 335 (Introduced 12.31.2012)
Legislation has been introduced in Texas to permit notices of government entities to be placed on a website, rather than in the newspaper where they are currently published.  Already, several editorials have been written that highlight why it is so important for legal notices to remain in newspapers.
Bill on legal notice law should be rejected – The Eagle (1.12.2013)
Newspapers help ensure access to public notices – Denton Record-Chronicle (1.12.2013)

Virginia – HB 1373 (Assigned to Committee 1.11.2013)
Several bills have been introduced that greatly impact legal notices in Virginia.  Of particular note, HB 1373 would permit a locality that has a population equal to or greater than 50,000 residents, in lieu of newspaper publication, post the notice to the web or broadcast the notice on radio or television.

Articles & Editorials

Recent articles and editorials have highlighted how the failure to provide adequate notice of public meetings greatly impacts the local community and its residents.
Yorktown Officials, State Experts Disagree on Open Meeting Law – Yorktown SomersPatch (1.9.2013)
Duval County Public Schools changes position on how it will give public notice for meetings – EduJax Blog (1.7.2013)
Public notice barely noticeable – Frederick News Post (1.3.2013)
Baltimore County school board didn’t give proper notice of Mays Chapel school hearing, state rules – The Baltimore Sun (12.19.2012)