Keep Public Notices Where the Public Notices: IN PRINT
Why are public notices an important part of a democratic society?
They are the third leg in the stool of “open government” they serve to keep the citizens of Michigan informed about the actions of their government.
What are the elements of public notice that make it so valuable to the citizens of our state?
- Permanence of record - newspapers provide a permanent legal record of the actions government officials at every level are taking.
- Archivability - newspapers and libraries across the state retain copies of these records in perpetuity.
- Independence - newspapers provide an independent source that serves as a watchdog of governmental activities.
An important premise found in federal, state, and local governments is that information about government activities must be publicized for people to make well-informed decisions. Public notices provide this sort of transparency and accessibility to citizens who want to know more about government actions. Providing public notice provides the opportunity for the public to influence governing bodies and allows the public to be an active participant in a democratic society.
In a recent Marketing Resource Group Poll results show the public trusts newspapers to provide notice to the public on important matters:
When asked "which would you trust more as the place to find public notices of government activities – on a government website, in a local newspaper or on that newspaper's website?" 55% of those polled responded they trust their local newspaper and the newspaper's website while only 25% trust government websites to provide this information.
63% of the respondents felt newspapers were more effective in making government activity known to the public.
MPA Members: For more information on MIPublicNotice2.0 Login to "members only"
In Michigan, there’s a difference between "Legal" notices and "Public" notices.
- A legal notice is anything ordered by the court (i.e. an order, citation, summons, advertisement or other matter arising out of judicial proceedings).
- A public notice is any other type of notice that a unit of government or taxpayer-supported entity must publish in a "newspaper" in order to satisfy due process requirements for Michigan citizens.
Newspapers can charge competitive rates for public notices. Michigan Press Association has compiled a list of the notices that local governments and school boards are required by law to publish, and the laws requiring it. For example: meeting synopses, invitations to bid, budget hearings, etc. Members can read the Michigan Public Notice Requirements to get a chart that answers those questions.
Read the DOs and DON'Ts of public notice publication for newspapers
We have developed ads for use in your newspapers to promote the need for public notices.
Legal Notice Folio Rates
Michigan law sets the maximum rate newspapers may charge for a "legal notice" (i.e. an "order, citation, summons, advertisement or other matter arising out of judicial proceedings). The chart below shows the rates beginning March 1, 2020, BUT NEWSPAPERS MAY CHOOSE TO CHARGE A LESSER RATE TO COMPETE FOR LEGAL ADVERTISEMENTS.
Newspapers should also note state law does not control the fee for providing an Affidavit of publication. Therefore, newspapers can raise affidavit fees independent of the statutory requirements for folio rates. This chart is for “legal” ads effective March 1, 2020.
Folio Rate Chart
Effective March 1, 2020
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