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House Bill 166 — Newspaper electronic notices

House Bill 166 — Newspaper electronic notices

Phil Haunschild
March 6, 2019

Bill description: HB 166 would require newspapers to publish legal notices electronically on a website they maintain.

Rating: 0

Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?

Numerous parts of Idaho law require government entities to provide a public notice before they do something, such as when county officials set a budget, a city department sells surplus property, or a state agency sends  out a request for proposals for a major project. The public entities are required to provide this notice in a newspaper published within their jurisdiction. In most cases, these notices must be published for several weeks.

Section 60-105, Idaho Code lays out the charges public entities must pay newspapers to publish these notices. They vary by the length of the notice and range from just a few dollars up to several hundred dollars, depending on the length. In total, the state spent nearly $1.4 million for public notices in 2018 and estimates for local government entities well exceed $1 million.

House Bill 166 would maintain the same dollar amount for printing in a newspaper; however, it would only require that the notice is printed a single time in print, and then would be posted online. The public entity could be required to pay up to a $20 fee for the newspaper to post the notice online. This would likely save public entities a lot of money


Does it increase barriers to entry into the market? Examples include occupational licensure, the minimum wage, and restrictions on home businesses. Conversely, does it remove barriers to entry into the market?

HB 166 would effectively require newspaper publishers to have an online presence even as many of the smaller newspapers throughout the state do not maintain one. Idaho Code requires that a local government publish their public notice in the newspaper within their jurisdiction that has the largest circulation, or, if none are available, in the closest newspaper with the greatest circulation.

Local government entities across the state would continue to be required to provide notice in the small newspapers throughout the state, even those which do not currently have an online presence. HB 166 would also require that the notice is provided online, forcing these private companies to establish an online presence.


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