CS/HB 35 (Fine) allows a governmental agency the option to publish legally required advertisements and notices on a publicly accessible website if the online publication results in a cost savings to the local government. The bill also requires a governmental agency to publish a notice at least once a year in a newspaper of general circulation that the resident or property owner may receive legally required notices or advertisements via first class mail or email by registration of his or her name, address and email address with the local governmental agency.
CS/CS/SB 402 (Rodrigues) is similar to CS/HB 35 as it gives local governments the option to publish legally required notices on a website, but the bill specifies that the website must be owned by a newspaper of general circulation. The bill allows for the newspaper to charge a fee for the online publication of legal notices, but it clarifies that the rate may be no higher than the rate for printed notices. The bill also specifies that if a local government chooses to publish their legal notices on the newspaper's website in lieu of purchasing a printed ad, the local government must purchase an ad once per week in the print edition of the newspaper stating that not all legal notices are appearing in print and that additional legal notices may be found on the statewide website managed by the Florida Press Association. CS/CS/SB 402 was amended onto CS/HB 35. CS/HB 35 passed the House (105-9) and the Senate (39-0). (Taggart)