New Public Notice Law HB 35 Timing Issues

Here is more information related to the timing of the implementation of the new law, HB 35.

When the bill is sent to the Governor, he will have 15 days to sign or veto the legislation, or it becomes law without being signed.

Once passed, the law becomes effective Jan. 1, 2022.  After that date, newspapers must meet one of the following three criteria to qualify to publish legal notices.

  1. The newspapers, free or paid, meets the 10% audience threshold and 10 public outlet requirements.
  2. For those newspapers holding periodicals permits as of March 1, 2021, they can continue to publish legal notices through Dec. 31, 2023, so long as they continue to hold the permit. Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, such newspaper must meet the 10% audience threshold and public outlet criteria.
  3. For those newspapers in the approximately 30 fiscally constrained counties that hold a periodicals permit, they can continue to carry the ads indefinitely without having to meet the 10% audience threshold and 10 outlets so long as they continue to hold the permit.

Newspapers that meet one of the above criteria must also be published at least once a week, have no more than 75% advertising content, and publish certain information relating to unique visitors or its periodicals permit.

For “new” free and paid newspapers or newspaper websites meeting the requirements of section 50.011, the print edition and website must be “in existence” for 2 years before being qualified to publish the notices.

Local governmental agencies can run certain government notices on qualified newspaper websites alone after the effective date (Jan. 1, 2022) so long as they vote to do this based on a determination that sufficient broadband access exists.

After the effective date (Jan. 1, 2022), FPA must begin publishing on the statewide website quarterly reports specifying which criteria that a newspaper satisfied, number of unique visitors to the website, and number of notices in internet-only publication or by print.