Message to Public Notices publishers from ANA executive director
The Public Notice Resource Center (PRNC) sent an email yesterday regarding the danger of suspending publication during the COVID-19 crisis.
The town of Glastonbury, Connecticut announced last week it would begin publishing public notices on its website in lieu of newspaper notice, which is normally required by law, according to Manchester’s Journal Inquirer. In a statement on its website, Glastonbury cited an emergency order issued March 21 by Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont that “suspended and modified” the state’s public notice laws to allow notices “to be published electronically on a municipality’s or agency’s website”.
The announcement also parenthetically mentioned that “The Glastonbury Citizen has temporarily stopped publishing during the COVID-19 pandemic.” A statement on the Citizen’s website explains that the “family-owned and operated” weekly newspaper was “forced to temporarily suspend publication” due to the public health crisis. An observer in Connecticut speculated that the Governor’s executive order was inspired by a request from public officials in Glastonbury, who realized they may need to purchase public notice ads in the more expensive Hartford Courant now that their local newspaper was shutting down for the duration of the crisis.
In Arizona, if a newspaper postpones it’s print publication and moves to digital for an any period of time, the Arizona statues below are clear that any such postponement could disqualify a newspaper from publishing public notices. It’s imperative to continue publication of your notices as required by law. If for some reason, it is not feasible to print a newspaper as normally scheduled, please let me know as you may need to notify the customer to provide another publication that will fulfill the requirement to publish.
Below are the Arizona Revised Statues requirements for publishing legal notices.
A. In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires, “newspaper” means a publication regularly issued for dissemination of news of a general and public character at stated short intervals of time. Such publication shall be from a known office of publication and shall bear dates of issue and be numbered consecutively. It shall not be designed primarily for advertising, free circulation or circulation at nominal rates, but shall have a bona fide list of paying subscribers.
B. “Newspaper” shall not include a publication which has not been admitted under federal law as second-class matter in the United States mails for at least one year.
It is within the federal rules and regulations that the hard copy print newspaper requirements lie. It is this section of law that some lawmakers have attempted to change to allow all online publications to qualify to post notices.
Moreover, there are numerous other statutory references to printing requirements:
39-204. Publication of notice; time; place
A. When publication of a notice in a newspaper is directed or authorized by law, it shall be in a newspaper of general circulation printed in English.
B. If the number of times the notice is to be published is not specified, publication shall be:
1. If in a weekly newspaper, once each week for two consecutive weeks.
2. If in a daily newspaper, four consecutive times.
C. If the place of publication of the notice is not specified, publication shall be:
1. If by a state officer, board, or commission, in a newspaper printed and published within the county where the state capital is located.
2. If by a county officer, board, or commission, or by any person in a county, in a newspaper printed and published within such county. If no such newspaper is printed and published within the county, publication may be made in a newspaper of general circulation in the county which is printed in an adjoining county.
3. If by a district, city or town officer, board, or commission, or by any person in a district, city or town, in a newspaper printed and published within the territorial limits thereof. If no such newspaper is printed and published within the limits thereof, publication may be made in a newspaper printed and published in the county in which the district, city or town is located.
Arizona Newspapers Association