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The Florida Statutes

The 2021 Florida Statutes

Title VI
CIVIL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
Chapter 50
LEGAL AND OFFICIAL ADVERTISEMENTS
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F.S. 50.0211
50.0211 Internet website publication.
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Governmental agency” means a county, a municipality, a district school board, or any other unit of local government or political subdivision in this state.
(b) “Governmental agency notice” includes any of the following notices required by law to be published in a newspaper:
1. Notices related to special or 1legal legislation pursuant to s. 11.02.
2. Educational unit notices pursuant to s. 120.81.
3. Retirement system notices pursuant to s. 121.0511.
4. Notices related to inclusion of positions in the Senior Management Service Class of the Florida Retirement System pursuant to s. 121.055.
5. Notices proposing the enactment of county ordinances pursuant to s. 125.66.
6. Code enforcement notices published pursuant to s. 162.12.
7. Notices proposing the enactment of municipal ordinances pursuant to s. 166.041.
8. Special district meeting notices pursuant to s. 189.015.
9. Establishment and termination notices for community development districts pursuant to ss. 190.005 and 190.046, respectively.
10. Disclosures of tax impact by value adjustment boards pursuant to s. 194.037.
11. Advertisements of real or personal property with delinquent taxes pursuant to s. 197.402.
12. Advertisements of hearing notices, millage rates, and budgets pursuant to s. 200.065.
13. Turnpike project notices pursuant to s. 338.223.
14. Public-private partnership notices pursuant to ss. 348.0308 and 348.7605.
15. Notices of prime recharge area designations for the Floridan and Biscayne aquifers pursuant to s. 373.0397.
16. Water management district notices pursuant to s. 373.146.
17. Hazardous waste disposal notices pursuant to s. 403.722.
18. Forfeiture notices pursuant to ss. 849.38 and 932.704.
(2) This section applies to legal notices that must be published in accordance with this chapter unless otherwise specified.
(3) If a governmental agency publishes a legal notice in the print edition of a newspaper, each legal notice must be posted on the newspaper’s website on the same day that the printed notice appears in the newspaper, at no additional charge, in a separate web page titled “Legal Notices,” “Legal Advertising,” or comparable identifying language. A link to the legal notices web page shall be provided on the front page of the newspaper’s website that provides access to the legal notices. If there is a specified size and placement required for a printed legal notice, the size and placement of the notice on the newspaper’s website must optimize its online visibility in keeping with the print requirements. The newspaper’s web pages that contain legal notices must present the legal notices as the dominant and leading subject matter of those pages. The newspaper’s website must contain a search function to facilitate searching the legal notices. A fee may not be charged, and registration may not be required, for viewing or searching legal notices on a newspaper’s website if the legal notice is published in a newspaper.
(4)(a) If a legal notice is published in the print edition of a newspaper or on a newspaper’s website, the newspaper publishing the notice shall place the notice on the statewide website established and maintained as an initiative of the Florida Press Association as a repository for such notices located at the following address: www.floridapublicnotices.com.
(b) A legal notice placed on the statewide website created under this subsection must be:
1. Accessible and searchable by party name and case number.
2. Posted for a period of at least 90 consecutive days after the first day of posting.
(c) The statewide website created under this subsection shall maintain a searchable archive of all legal notices posted on the publicly accessible website for 18 months after the first day of posting. Such searchable archive shall be provided and accessible to the general public without charge.
(d) The Florida Press Association shall seek to ensure that minority populations throughout the state have equitable access to legal notices posted on the statewide legal notice website located at: www.floridapublicnotices.com. The Florida Press Association shall publish a report listing all newspapers that have placed notices on www.floridapublicnotices.com in the preceding calendar quarter. The report must specifically identify which criteria under s. 50.011(1)(c)1.-3. 2each newspaper satisfied. Each quarterly report must also include the number of unique visitors to the statewide legal notice website during that quarter and the number of legal notices that were published during that quarter by Internet-only publication or by publication in a print newspaper and on the statewide website. At a minimum, the reports for the 4 preceding calendar quarters shall be available on the website.
(5)(a) In lieu of publishing a legal notice in the print edition of a newspaper of general circulation, a governmental agency may opt for Internet-only publication of governmental agency notices with any newspaper of general circulation within the jurisdiction of the affected governmental agency so long as the governmental agency, after a public hearing noticed in a print edition of a newspaper in accordance with this chapter, makes a determination by a majority of the members of the governing body of the governmental agency that the Internet publication of such governmental agency notices is in the public interest and that the residents within the jurisdiction of the governmental agency have sufficient access to the Internet by broadband service as defined in s. 364.02 or through other means such that Internet-only publication of governmental agency notices would not unreasonably restrict public access. Any such Internet-only publication published in accordance with this subsection must be placed in the legal notices section of the newspaper’s website and the statewide legal notice website established under subsection (4). All requirements regarding the format and accessibility of legal notices placed on the newspaper’s website and the statewide legal notice website in subsections (3) and (4) also apply to Internet-only publication of legal notices published in accordance with this subsection. A newspaper is deemed to be a newspaper of general circulation within the jurisdiction of the affected governmental agency if it satisfies the criteria in s. 50.011(1).
(b) The legal notices section of the print edition of a newspaper must include a disclaimer stating that additional legal notices may be accessed on the newspaper’s website and the statewide legal notice website. The legal notices section of the newspaper’s website must also include a disclaimer stating that legal notices are also published in the print edition of the newspaper and on the statewide legal notice website.
(c) A newspaper may charge for the publication of any governmental agency notice that is published only on the newspaper’s website, without rebate, commission, or refund; however, the newspaper may not charge any higher rate for publication than the amount that would be authorized under s. 50.061 if the governmental agency notice had been printed in the newspaper. The penalties prescribed in s. 50.061(7) for allowing or accepting any rebate, commission, or refund in connection to the amounts charged for publication also apply to any governmental agency notices that are published only on the Internet in accordance with this subsection.
(d) If a governmental agency exercises the option to publish Internet-only governmental agency notices in accordance with this subsection, such agency must provide notice at least once per week in the print edition of a newspaper of general circulation within the region in which the governmental agency is located which states that legal notices pertaining to the agency do not all appear in the print edition of the local newspaper and that additional legal notices may be accessed on the newspaper’s website and that a full listing of any legal notices may be accessed on the statewide legal notice website located at www.floridapublicnotices.com. Additionally, any such governmental agency must post a link on its website homepage to a webpage that lists all of the newspapers in which the governmental agency publishes legal notices. A newspaper is deemed to be a newspaper of general circulation within the region in which the governmental agency is located if it satisfies the criteria in s. 50.011(1).
(6) Newspapers that publish legal notices shall, upon request, provide e-mail notification of new legal notices when they are published in the newspaper or on the newspaper’s website. Such e-mail notification shall be provided without charge, and notification for such an e-mail registry shall be available on the front page of the legal notices section of the newspaper’s website.
(7) Notwithstanding the authorization of Internet-only publication for certain governmental agency notices in accordance with subsection (5), any other statute requiring the publication of an official legal notice in the print edition of a newspaper may not be construed to be superseded.
History.s. 1, ch. 2012-212; s. 1, ch. 2014-210; s. 3, ch. 2021-17.
1Note.Section 11.02 pertains to notice of special or local legislation or certain relief acts.
2Note.The word “that” preceding the word “each” was deleted by the editors to improve clarity.