AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A PILOT PROGRAM AUTHORIZING CERTAIN LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO PUBLISH REQUIRED NOTICES ELECTRONICALLY AND TO AUTHORIZE GUILFORD COUNTY TO PUBLISH LEGAL NOTICES VIA THE COUNTY-MAINTAINED WEB SITE FOR A FEE.
House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 2nd edition.
Changes the act's long and short titles. Deletes all provisions of the previous edition.
Section 1 now provides the following, applicable 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 December 1, 2017, and applies to notices published on or after that date.
Section 2 now provides the following, applicable 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 authorizing the county to publish the notice on the county-maintained website. Authorizes the board of commissioners to adopt an ordinance establishing the county website as a central location for publishing or advertising legal notices as long as the county (1) maintains its own website with sufficient staff to maintain the website, (2) has sufficient staff to complete affidavits as needed for all legal notices as required by subsection (d) of the statute, and (3) collects and remits fees in subsections (b) and (c) of the statute.
Details publication fees the county may charge ranging from $0 to no more than $450. 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 available on its website for the stated period of time when filed and certified by the clerk of superior court.
Establishes that when a statute or written instrument stipulates that an advertisement of a sale must be made for a certain number of weeks, publication via the county website in accordance with this statute for the number of weeks so indicated is a sufficient compliance with the requirement. Clarifies that the statute does not require a county to adopt an ordinance authorizing the county to publish notices on a county-maintained website.
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