New law allows local governments to post legal notices on their websites

Local governments will no longer be required to post notices in newspapers or on newspaper websites

Local and municipal governments won’t be required to post legal notices in local newspapers under a new law Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Tuesday night.

Instead, governments can publish notices digitally on websites maintained by county governments.

HB 7049 allows local governments to continue to post notices in local papers if they choose but the bill changes the law to make clear that notices can be posted in papers that are distributed for free.

The law also requires any governmental agency located in a county with a population of fewer than 160,000 to first hold a public hearing and determine that its residents have sufficient access to the Internet before publishing legal notices on a publicly accessible website.

When the new law goes into effect Jan. 1, it will negate a compromise proposal signed by DeSantis last year that allowed notices to appear online and in newspapers.

That law, championed by Rep. Randy Fine, had been in effect for about two months before legislators considered a new proposal in the 2022 Legislative Session.

Newspaper publishers across the state, especially for small papers where such notices make up a large portion of revenues, were alarmed by the 2022 legislation.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.

One comment

  • Gary Stilwell

    May 12, 2022 at 8:52 pm

    Another nail in the coffin for those who depend on the local paper to see what’s happening–just another roadblock for citizens to try to get around so they can see what their elected officials are doing–Florida Law in the Sunshine–yeah, right.

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