Online Sunshine Logo
Official Internet Site of the Florida Legislature
November 29, 2021
Text: 'NEW Advanced Legislative Search'
Interpreter Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Go to MyFlorida House
Go to MyFlorida House
Select Year:  
The Florida Statutes

The 2021 Florida Statutes

Title VI
CIVIL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
Chapter 50
LEGAL AND OFFICIAL ADVERTISEMENTS
View Entire Chapter
CHAPTER 50
CHAPTER 50
LEGAL AND OFFICIAL ADVERTISEMENTS
50.011 Publication of legal notices.
50.021 Publication when no newspaper in county.
50.0211 Internet website publication.
50.031 Newspapers in which legal notices and process may be published.
50.041 Proof of publication; uniform affidavits required.
50.051 Proof of publication; form of uniform affidavit.
50.061 Amounts chargeable.
50.0711 Court docket fund; service charges; publications.
50.011 Publication of legal notices.Whenever by statute an official or legal advertisement or a publication, or notice in a newspaper has been or is directed or permitted in the nature of or in lieu of process, or for constructive service, or in initiating, assuming, reviewing, exercising or enforcing jurisdiction or power, or for any purpose, including all legal notices and advertisements of sheriffs and tax collectors, the contemporaneous and continuous intent and meaning of such legislation all and singular, existing or repealed, is and has been and is hereby declared to be and to have been, and the rule of interpretation is and has been the following:
(1) A publication in a newspaper that meets all of the following:
(a) Is printed and published periodically at least once a week.
(b) Contains at least 25 percent of its words in the English language.
(c) Satisfies one of the following criteria:
1. Has an audience consisting of at least 10 percent of the households in the county or municipality, as determined by the most recent decennial census, where the legal or public notice is being published or posted, by calculating the combination of the total of the number of print copies reflecting the day of highest print circulation, of which at least 25 percent of such print copies must be delivered to individuals’ home or business addresses, as certified biennially by a certified independent third-party auditor, and the total number of online unique monthly visitors to the newspaper’s website from within the state, as measured by industry-accepted website analytics software. The newspaper must also be sold, or otherwise available to the public, at no less than 10 publicly accessible outlets. For legal and public notices published by nongovernmental entities, the newspaper’s audience in the county or municipality where the project, property, or other primary subject of the notice is located must meet the 10 percent threshold.
2. Holds a periodicals permit as of March 1, 2021, and accepts legal notices for publication as of that date. Any such newspaper may continue to publish legal notices through December 31, 2023, so long as the newspaper continues to meet the requirements set forth in s. 21, chapter 99-2, Laws of Florida, and continues to hold a periodicals permit. Beginning January 1, 2024, and thereafter, any such newspaper must meet the criteria under subparagraph 1.
3. For newspapers publishing legal notices in a fiscally constrained county, holds a periodicals permit and meets all other requirements of this chapter. A newspaper qualified under this subparagraph does not need to meet the criteria under subparagraph 1. so long as the newspaper continues to hold a periodicals permit. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “fiscally constrained county” means a county within a rural area of opportunity designated by the Governor pursuant to s. 288.0656 or a county for which the value of a mill will raise no more than $5 million in revenue, based on the certified taxable value certified pursuant to s. 1011.62(4)(a)1.a., from the previous July 1.
(d) Is available to the public generally for the publication of official or other notices with no more than 75 percent of its content dedicated toward advertising, as measured in half of the newspaper’s issues that are published during any 12-month period, and customarily containing information of a public character or of interest or of value to the residents or owners of property in the county where published, or of interest or of value to the general public.
(e) Continually publishes in a prominent manner the name, street address, phone number, website URL of the newspaper’s approved print auditor, the newspaper’s most recent statement of ownership, and a statement of the auditor certifying the veracity of the newspaper’s print distribution and the number of the newspaper’s website’s monthly unique visitors, or the newspaper’s periodicals permit, if applicable, within the first five pages of the print edition and the bottom portion of the homepage of the newspaper’s website.
(2) Internet publication for governmental agency notices under s. 50.0211(1)(b) on the website of any newspaper in the county to which the legal notice pertains and on the statewide legal notice website as provided in s. 50.0211(5). A newspaper is deemed to be a newspaper in the county to which the legal notice pertains if it satisfies the criteria in subsection (1).
History.s. 2, ch. 3022, 1877; RS 1296; GS 1727; s. 1, ch. 5610, 1907; RGS 2942; s. 1, ch. 12104, 1927; CGL 4666, 4901; s. 1, ch. 63-387; s. 6, ch. 67-254; s. 21, ch. 99-2; s. 1, ch. 2021-17.
Note.Former s. 49.01.
50.021 Publication when no newspaper in county.When any law, or order or decree of court, directs advertisements to be made in a county and there is no newspaper published in the county, the advertisement may be made by publication in any newspaper qualified under this chapter in an adjoining county or on the website of any such newspaper for governmental agency notices under s. 50.0211(1)(b), and on the statewide legal notice website as provided in s. 50.0211(5) or by posting three copies thereof in three different places in the county, one of which shall be at the front door of the courthouse, and by publication in the nearest county in which a newspaper is published.
History.RS 1297; GS 1728; RGS 2943; CGL 4667; s. 6, ch. 67-254; s. 2, ch. 2021-17.
Note.Former s. 49.02.
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.
50.031 Newspapers in which legal notices and process may be published.No notice or publication required to be published in the print edition of a newspaper or on a newspaper’s website, if authorized, in the nature of or in lieu of process of any kind, nature, character or description provided for under any law of the state, whether heretofore or hereafter enacted, and whether pertaining to constructive service, or the initiating, assuming, reviewing, exercising or enforcing jurisdiction or power, by any court in this state, or any notice of sale of property, real or personal, for taxes, state, county or municipal, or sheriff’s, guardian’s or administrator’s or any sale made pursuant to any judicial order, decree or statute or any other publication or notice pertaining to any affairs of the state, or any county, municipality or other political subdivision thereof, shall be deemed to have been published in accordance with the statutes providing for such publication, unless the same shall have been published for the prescribed period of time required for such publication, in a newspaper or on a newspaper’s website which at the time of such publication shall have been in existence for 2 years and meets the requirements set forth in s. 50.011, or in a newspaper which is a direct successor of a newspaper which has been so published; provided, however, that nothing herein contained shall apply where in any county there shall be no newspaper in existence which shall have been published for the length of time above prescribed. No legal publication of any kind, nature or description, as herein defined, shall be valid or binding or held to be in compliance with the statutes providing for such publication unless the same shall have been published in accordance with the provisions of this section or s. 50.0211(5). Proof of such publication shall be made by uniform affidavit.
History.ss. 1-3, ch. 14830, 1931; CGL 1936 Supp. 4274(1); s. 7, ch. 22858, 1945; s. 6, ch. 67-254; s. 1, ch. 74-221; s. 22, ch. 99-2; s. 4, ch. 2021-17.
Note.Former s. 49.03.
50.041 Proof of publication; uniform affidavits required.
(1) All affidavits made for the purpose of establishing proof of publication of public notices or legal advertisements shall be uniform throughout the state.
(2) Each such affidavit shall be printed upon white paper and shall be 81/2 inches in width and of convenient length, not less than 51/2 inches. A white margin of not less than 21/2 inches shall be left at the right side of each affidavit form and upon or in this space shall be substantially pasted a clipping which shall be a true copy of the public notice or legal advertisement for which proof is executed. Alternatively, the affidavit may be provided in electronic rather than paper form, provided the notarization of the affidavit complies with the requirements of s. 117.021.
(3) There may be a charge not to exceed $2 levied for the preparation and execution of each such proof of publication or affidavit.
History.s. 1, ch. 19290, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4668(1); s. 1, ch. 63-49; s. 26, ch. 67-254; s. 1, ch. 76-58; s. 2, ch. 2012-212; s. 5, ch. 2021-17.
Note.Former s. 49.04.
50.051 Proof of publication; form of uniform affidavit.The printed form upon which all such affidavits establishing proof of publication are to be executed shall be substantially as follows:

NAME OF COUNTY

STATE OF FLORIDA

COUNTY OF  :

Before the undersigned authority personally appeared  , who on oath says that he or she is   of the  , a   newspaper published at   in   County, Florida; that the attached copy of advertisement, being a   in the matter of   in the   Court, was published in said newspaper by print in the issues of   or by publication on the newspaper’s website, if authorized, on   (date)  .

Affiant further says that the newspaper complies with all legal requirements for publication in chapter 50, Florida Statutes.

Sworn to and subscribed before me this   day of  ,   (year)  , by  , who is personally known to me or who has produced (type of identification) as identification.

  (Signature of Notary Public)  

  (Print, Type, or Stamp Commissioned Name of Notary Public)  

  (Notary Public)  

History.s. 2, ch. 19290, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4668(2); s. 6, ch. 67-254; s. 1, ch. 93-62; s. 291, ch. 95-147; s. 23, ch. 99-2; s. 3, ch. 99-6; s. 6, ch. 2021-17.
Note.Former s. 49.05.
50.061 Amounts chargeable.
(1) The publisher of any newspaper publishing any and all official public notices or legal advertisements shall charge therefor the rates specified in this section without rebate, commission or refund.
(2) The charge for publishing each such official public notice or legal advertisement shall be 70 cents per square inch for the first insertion and 40 cents per square inch for each subsequent insertion, except that government notices required to be published more than once, the cost of which is paid for by the government and not paid in advance by or allowed to be recouped from private parties, may not be charged for the second and successive insertions at a rate greater than 85 percent of the original rate.
(3) Where the regular established minimum commercial rate per square inch of the newspaper publishing such official public notices or legal advertisements is in excess of the rate herein stipulated, said minimum commercial rate per square inch may be charged for all such legal advertisements or official public notices for each insertion, except that government notices required to be published more than once, the cost of which is paid for by the government and not paid in advance by or allowed to be recouped from private parties, may not be charged for the second and successive insertions at a rate greater than 85 percent of the original rate.
(4) A governmental agency publishing an official public notice or legal advertisement may procure publication by soliciting and accepting written bids from newspapers published in the county, in which case the specified charges in this section do not apply.
(5) If the public notice is published in the print edition of a newspaper, the posting of the notice on the newspaper’s website pursuant to s. 50.0211(3) must be done at no additional charge.
(6) All official public notices and legal advertisements shall be charged and paid for on the basis of 6-point type on 6-point body, unless otherwise specified by statute.
(7) Any person violating this section, either by allowing or accepting any rebate, commission, or refund, commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(8) Failure to charge the rates prescribed by this section shall in no way affect the validity of any official public notice or legal advertisement and shall not subject same to legal attack upon such grounds.
History.s. 3, ch. 3022, 1877; RS 1298; GS 1729; RGS 2944; s. 1, ch. 12215, 1927; CGL 4668; ss. 1, 2, 2A, 2B, ch. 20264, 1941; s. 1, ch. 23663, 1947; s. 1, ch. 57-160; s. 1, ch. 63-50; s. 1, ch. 65-569; s. 6, ch. 67-254; s. 15, ch. 71-136; s. 35, ch. 73-332; s. 1, ch. 90-279; s. 3, ch. 2012-212; s. 2, ch. 2014-210; s. 7, ch. 2021-17.
Note.Former s. 49.06.
50.0711 Court docket fund; service charges; publications.
(1) The clerk of the court in each county may establish a court docket fund for the purpose of paying the cost of publication of the fact of the filing of any civil case in the circuit court of the county by the style and of the calendar relating to such cases. This court docket fund shall be funded by $1 mandatory court cost for all civil actions, suits, or proceedings filed in the circuit court of the county. The clerk shall maintain such funds separate and apart, and the proceeds from this court cost shall not be diverted to any other fund or for any purpose other than that established in this section. The clerk of the court shall dispense the fund to the designated record newspaper in the county on a quarterly basis.
(2) A newspaper qualified under the terms of s. 50.011 shall be designated as the record newspaper for such publication by an order of the majority of the judges in the judicial circuit in which such county is located, and such order shall be filed and recorded with the clerk of the circuit court for such county. The designated record newspaper may be changed at the end of any fiscal year of the county by a majority vote of the judges of the judicial circuit of the county ordering such change 30 days prior to the end of the fiscal year, notice of which order shall be given to the previously designated record newspaper.
(3) The publishers of any designated record newspapers receiving payment from this court docket fund shall publish, without additional charge, the fact of the filing of any civil case, suit, or action filed in such county in the circuit. Such publication shall be in accordance with a schedule agreed upon between the record newspaper and the clerk of the court in such county.
(4) The publishers of any designated record newspapers receiving revenues from the court docket fund established in subsection (1) shall, without charge, accept legal advertisements for the purpose of service of process by publication under s. 49.011(4), (10), and (11) when such publication is required of persons authorized to proceed as indigent persons under s. 57.081.
History.s. 46, ch. 2004-265.