Bill Summary for H 205 (2017-2018)

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Summary date: 

Jun 29 2017

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2017-2018 Session
House Bill 205 (Public) Filed Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Intro. by McNeill, Zachary.

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Bill summary

Conference report makes the following changes to the 3rd edition.

Changes the long and short titles.

Section 2

Deletes proposed GS 95-28.5 (Certain benefits for newspaper workers).

Deletes the proposed changes to the definition of employment set out in GS 96-1(b)(12) to include certain services involving delivery or distribution of newspapers and shopping news, or involving the sale of newspapers or magazines.

Section 3

Amends GS Chapter 1, Article 50, as follows:

Amends GS 1-596 (Charges for legal advertising). Provides that when a notice is required by statute to be published by a unit of government more than once and is paid for by the unit of government and the cost of publication is not paid in advance by or allowed to be recouped from private parties, the unit of government cannot be charged for the second and successive publications of that notice at a rate greater than 85% of the rate charged for the first publication in the series. Makes organizational changes.

Amends GS 1-597 (Regulations for newspaper publication of legal notices, advertisements, etc.). Deletes all current required qualifications for a newspaper to publish listed legal notices or advertisements, and replaces them as follows: requires a newspaper to (1) have a content that appeals to the public generally, (2) have at least 100 paid subscribers and distribute at least 1,000 copies per issue in the county where the newspaper seeks qualification, (3) have a paid subscriber distribution not entirely limited geographically to one community or section of the county where the newspaper seeks qualification, (4) be available for subscription by any person who wishes to subscribe in the county where the newspaper seeks qualification, (5) have regularly and continuously published for at least one day in each calendar week for at least 50 of the 52 consecutive weeks immediately preceding the date of the application, and (6) maintain a physical location in the county. Makes organizational changes.

Enacts new GS 1-597.5, setting out the requirements for electronic publication. Requires a newspaper that maintains a website, displaying the contents of the newspaper, to place each notice on that website on the same day that the notice appears in the print newspaper, at no additional cost. Provides five requirements for the online display, including that a hyperlink to legal notices be provided on the front page of the website that provides access to the notices without charge. Directs newspapers that publish notices to provide email notification, without charge, to a person who requests such notification when such notices are printed in the newspaper or added to the newspaper's website. This email notification is only required for the initial publication of a notice that is required to be published more than once. Provides that an error in the placement of a government legal notice on a website or delivery of an email notification is considered a harmless error. The requirement of proper legal notice is deemed to have been met if the notice is properly published in the print edition of the newspaper.

Amends GS 1-598. Amends caption to read Sworn statement prima facie evidence of qualifications; affidavit of publication by a newspaper. Makes organizational changes.

Amends GS 45-21.17(1), which sets out the requirements for the posting of the notice of sale of real property that are in addition to complying with the provisions contained in the security instrument. Requires the notice to be published weekly for at least two successive weeks in a newspaper qualified for legal advertising pursuant to GS 1-597 in the county where the property is situated, providing that if no newspaper is qualified in that county, then the notice must be published weekly for at least two successive weeks in accordance with GS 1-597(b). Removes the authority of the clerk to authorize additional advertisement in the clerk's discretion or upon application of any interested party and subsequently permit the charges for further advertisement to be taxes as part of the costs of foreclosure.

Makes conforming changes to GS 1-604.

Provides that the validation of any publication, advertisement, or notice pursuant to a previous enactment of GS 1-597 remains in effect and is not affected by any modification of that statute enacted by the act.

Effective October 1, 2017.

Section 4

The following provisions apply only to Guilford County or any municipality located wholly or partly in Guilford County:

Enacts GS 153A-52.2, Electronic notice for notices required to be published by the board, authorizing a governing board of a county to adopt an ordinance providing that any notice the board is required by law to publish or advertise, whether under GS 1-597 or GS Chapter 143, Article 8, or any other general law or local act, can be published electronically, as provided, in lieu of or in addition to the required publication or advertisement. Defines governing board to mean the body elected or appointed as the board of county commissioners, city council, or county board of elections. Clarifies that the county ordinance can cover all notices required to be published or advertised or a clearly identified category of notices. Requires the governing board to publish specific instructions regarding how to access notices published electronically under the adopted ordinance at least once a month for 12 months in a newspaper having general circulation for that jurisdiction, as provided in GS 1-597 as amended by this act. Details five requirements of any notice published under an ordinance adopted pursuant to this statute, including the requirement that notices and links to all notices on the website must be maintained on the website for at least one year after publication and must be searchable. Establishes that ordinances adopted under the statute cannot supersede any general law or local act that requires notice by mail to certain persons or classes of persons, or the posting of signs on certain property. Sets out that the ordinance adopted by the governing board can control notice given by any board appointed by the governing board, including the planning board, board of social services, and board of health. 

Makes conforming changes to GS 160A-1(7), GS 153A-1(6), and GS 159-1(b)(5) to add electronic notice to the defined term publish when an ordinance has been adopted by that governing board. Makes organizational and technical changes. 

Makes conforming change to amend GS 163-33 (powers and duties of county board of elections) to authorize the county board to adopt a policy in accordance with GS 153A-52.2 to provide for notices, advertisements, and publications to be given electronically. 

Effective October 1, 2017, and applies to notices published on or after that date.

Section 5

The following provisions apply only to Guilford County:

Enacts GS 1-602, Publication via county-maintained website, providing that in lieu of publishing in a newspaper, publication of any notice permitted or required by law to be published in a newspaper can be accomplished by contracting with a county that has adopted an ordinance under GS 153A-458 to publish the notice on the county-maintained website. Details publication fees the county may charge ranging from $0 to $450, and the distribution of fees collected, with 10% of fees collected to be used for county administrative costs, 40% to the county general fund, and 50% to the local board of education for payment of local supplements for teachers as defined by GS 115C-325.1(6). Provides for a county employee's sworn written statement to be prima facie evidence that the county placed the notice, paper, document, or legal advertisement on its website for the stated period of time, and deems the sworn statement a record of the court and prima facie evidence that the county made the publication on its website for the stated period of time when filed and certified by the clerk of superior court. Clarifies that the statute does not require a county to adopt an ordinance under GS 153A-458 and publish notices on a county-maintained website. 

Amends GS 1-595 (advertisement of public sales) providing that when a statute or written instrument stipulates that an advertisement of a sale must be made for any certain number of weeks, publication on the county website in accordance with GS 1-602 for the number of weeks indicated is sufficient for compliance.

Effective October 1, 2017, and applies to notices published on or after that date.