Gov. Tony Evers has signed into law Wisconsin Act 32, which further ensures the newspaper industry’s role in the continued publication of public notices.
Each amendment aims to cement the role of community newspapers as newspapers of record, while also promoting ease of access and increased readership of legal notices. The legislation does not change the eligibility status of newspapers currently certified to publish legal notices.
The act makes the following changes to the state’s public notice law:
• Expands the definition of a newspaper’s circulation to include electronic and digital subscribers
• Requires all newspapers publishing notices to have a website and to include a prominent link to all notices published by the newspaper on its home page
• Requires all newspapers publishing notices to include a prominent link to the statewide public notice website maintained by the Wisconsin newspaper industry
• Removes the requirement that 50% of a newspaper’s circulation must be paid in order to qualify to publish legal notices
• Amends the frequency and length of time a newspaper must be in publication before it is eligible to publish legal notices
• Allows for electronic tear-sheeting for multiple insertion proof of publication
The bill’s lead sponsors include Rep. Joel Kitchens (R – Sturgeon Bay) and Sen. Robert Cowles (R – Green Bay).
Bennett added that the WNA also extends its gratitude to the bills co-sponsors — Sens. Janet Bewley (D – Mason), Brad Pfaff (D – Onalaska) and Patrick Testin (R – Stevens Point) and Reps. David Armstrong (R – Rice Lake), Jill Billings (D – LaCrosse), Steven Doyle (D – Onalaska), Cindi Duchow (R – Town of Delafield), Jesse James (R – Altoona), Daniel Knodl (R – Germantown), Amy Loudenbeck (R – Clinton), Nick Milroy (D – South Range), Clint Moses (R – Menomonie), Jeffrey Mursau (R – Crivitz), Todd Novak (R – Dodgeville), Donna Rozar (R – Marshfield), Ken Skowronski (R – Franklin), David Steffen (R – Green Bay), Lisa Subeck (D – Madison) and Don Vruwink (D – Milton).
The legislature passed the final legislation without opposition.