Bill Summary for H 35 (2021-2022)

Summary date: 

Jan 28 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
House Bill 35 (Local) Filed Thursday, January 28, 2021
AN ACT ALLOWING LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN THE COUNTIES OF BURKE, CURRITUCK, DAVIDSON, DAVIE, IREDELL, MONTGOMERY, RICHMOND, ROCKINGHAM, ROWAN, RUTHERFORD, AND STANLY TO PUBLISH PUBLIC NOTICES ELECTRONICALLY ON THE COUNTY-MAINTAINED WEBSITE AND TO SET REASONABLE FEES TO COVER THE COST OF PROVIDING ELECTRONIC NOTICE.
Intro. by Warren, Adams, Hanig.

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Bill summary

Limits the scope of the act to the following counties only: Cabarrus, Catawba, Currituck, Davidson, Forsyth, Haywood, Jackson, Montgomery, Richmond, Rockingham, Rowan, Rutherford, Stanly, and Swain.

Section 1

Adds the following new provisions to GS 153A-52, concerning conduct of public hearings. Authorizes governing boards to adopt ordinances to provide that any notice the county is required to publish or advertise, by state law or local act, can be published electronically pursuant to the statute's new provisions 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. Allows for the ordinances to cover all required publications or advertisements, or to clearly identify categories of notices, and to set reasonable fees to cover electronic notice costs. Details requirements for adopting such ordinances and using electronic notice, including instructions for the public to access electronic notices, time and content requirements for electronic notices, filing requirements of copies of electronic notices, and requirements for mailing or emailing electronic notices to persons who file written requests, as specified. Specifies that the act does not supersede laws or acts requiring mailed notice to certain persons or classes of persons, or posting of signs to certain property. Specifies that ordinances can govern notice given by any board appointed by the governing board, including the planning board, board of social services, and board of health. Limits the scope of the statute to the counties of Cabarrus, Catawba, Currituck, Davidson, Forsyth, Haywood, Jackson, Montgomery, Richmond, Rockingham, Rowan, Rutherford, Stanly, and Swain, and any municipality located wholly or in part in one of those counties. 

Amends GS 160A-1 (sets forth definitions used in GS Chapter 160A, governing cities and towns), GS 153A-1 (sets forth definitions used in GS Chapter 153A, governing counties), and GS 159-1(b) (sets forth definitions used in GS 159, governing local government finance), to include electronic notice, as provided for in amended GS 153A-52, in the definition provided for publish, publication, and other forms of the word publish, so long as an ordinance has been adopted by the relevant governing board. 

Amends GS 163-33, authorizing county boards of elections to adopt a policy pursuant to GS 153A-52, as amended, to provide for notices, advertisements, and publications to be given electronically. 

Specifies that Section 1 only applies to the counties of Cabarrus, Catawba, Currituck, Davidson, Forsyth, Haywood, Jackson, Montgomery, Richmond, Rockingham, Rowan, Rutherford, Stanly, and Swain, and any municipality located wholly or in part in one of those counties, and applies to notices published on or after the date the act becomes law. 

Section 2

Enacts new GS 1-602 allowing publishing of any notice permitted or required to be published in a newspaper, by instead contracting with a county who has adopted an ordinance authorizing the county to publish such notices on a website maintained by the county. Allows the board of commissions to adopt such an ordinance if the county: (1) maintains its own website, with sufficient staff to maintain that site; (2) has sufficient staff to complete affidavits as needed for all legal notices as required by this statute; (3) collects and remits fees as authorized in this statute; and (4) provides notice that public notices may be published on the county website, in a newspaper, or via both. Provides that when a county has published a notice or any other paper, document, or legal advertisement and a county employee makes a written statement under oath stating that the county placed such notice, paper, document, or legal advertisement on its website, the sworn written statement must be received in all courts in North Carolina as prima facie evidence that the county placed the notice, paper, document, or legal advertisement upon its Web site for the stated period of time. Requires that such a sworn statement that is filed with that county’s superior court clerk, be deemed to be a record of the court and be prima facie evidence that the county placed the notice, paper, document, or legal advertisement upon its website for the stated period of time. Allows the county to charge fees for administrative costs. Provides that when a statute or written instrument stipulates that an advertisement of a sale must be made for a specified number of weeks, publication on the county website in accordance with this statute for that specified period is sufficient compliance.  Requires any newspaper publishing public notices to provide notice that public notices may be published on the county website, in the newspaper, or via both. Specifies that this statute does not require a county to adopt an ordinance authorizing the county to publish notices on a website maintained by the county.

Specifies that Section 2 applies only to the counties of Cabarrus, Catawba, Currituck, Davidson, Forsyth, Haywood, Jackson, Montgomery, Richmond, Rockingham, Rowan, Rutherford, Stanly, and Swain.

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