Earlier this month, we reported that through the end of the summer there were no states that had approved legislation significantly altering their public notice laws. We were wrong.
Unbeknownst to most in the newspaper business, two months earlier Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine had signed into law measures buried within the legislature’s 6,198-page budget bill that will bring sweeping changes to the state’s public notice regime. DeWine signed the bill less than a week after it passed both the GOP-dominated state House and Senate by wide margins on June 30.
Most importantly, Ohio HB-33 allows municipalities to publish many or most of their notices on their own websites and social media feeds or on the Ohio News Media Association’s statewide public notice website, instead of publishing them in local newspapers or legal journals. The bill also reduces the number of newspaper ads required to be published by some municipalities and state agencies in connection with specific types of notices; allows Ohio’s state environmental agency to publish all of its notices on its website instead of local newspapers and legal journals; and raises the spending threshold above which many or most government agencies are required to publish newspaper notices soliciting bids. It takes effect on Oct. 3.
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