By Dennis Hetzel, Executive Director
It’s official. Gov. Kasich has signed House Bill 483, which includes the ONA-backed measure that makes our popular, long-running public notice website, www.PublicNoticesOhio.com, the “official” website for digital notices in Ohio, replacing a state-run site created in 2011.
Be assured that we will roll out detailed communication as the change gets closer. For now, here are the bullet points:
- Nothing in the law has changed in terms of requirements to put notices in printed newspapers first. The result will be a single, easy-to-find and use site containing the bulk of Ohio’s newspaper notices in one place, preserving and enhancing the long-term relationship between newspapers and government advertisers.
- The changes become mandatory in about nine months, in March of 2015. At that time, uploading to PublicNoticesOhio.com will be required to qualify to publish Ohio public notices, and you will need to have a link to the statewide site somewhere on your website.
- If you already are uploading to the site, the impact is minimal. Most ONA members already are doing so, and many have been for a decade. However, for those who are not uploading to the site, I urge you to contact Jason Sanford on our staff as soon as you can so we set you up. In almost all cases, we can create a simple, automated feed directly from your classified system into the website. Ohio’s law journal newspapers in the larger cities also will be uploading to the site.
- To assess possible revenue impact, note that the changes will make it easier for governmental bodies to utilize cost savings. These apply to certain government notices in which there is more than one publication requirement. Current law allows an option of publishing the second notice in shortened form if the statewide site is utilized. We expect more usage of this option because newspapers will fulfill as part of their relationship with government advertisers. This replaces the extra work that was required for officials to upload to the state government-operated site, which will cease to exist. The law continues to treat private and court-related notices separately.
- The law continues to require publication to your local website at no additional charge if you have a website. Upon request, we can provide a feed of your notices back to you of the notices you upload to the statewide site.
- The law keeps our site free to the general public other than for enhanced search functions. We have no current plans for service charges or fees to uploading newspapers and will strive to keep it that way. This type of legislation has passed several other states, and some are charging modest fees to cover costs.
This has been a three-year effort, so we are very appreciative of Gov. Kasich, his staff and many legislators who supported our position that this is a win-win. Our government relations partners at Capitol Consulting in Columbus were critical in the process.
Again, be on the lookout for more details in the coming weeks. We welcome your questions. You can find the complete statutory language, with changes noted, by clicking here.
Don’t forget our ads on the importance of notices in newspapers
It’s always a good idea to remind your readers that newspaper notices matter a lot and serve citizens best. The ONA has a wide variety of excellent ads in different shapes and sizes, in color and black-and-white, that we urge you to publish as you have space available.
To review the ad options, just click here. We also urge you to place the “widget” that promotes our public notice website on your own site. This, by the way, will meet the requirements of HB 483.