LRB-3836/1
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2017 - 2018 LEGISLATURE
December 7, 2017 - Introduced by Representatives Kitchens, Ballweg, Berceau,
Duchow, Mursau, Novak, Quinn, Rohrkaste, Steffen, Wichgers and E.
Brooks
, cosponsored by Senator Cowles. Referred to Committee on Rural
Development and Mining.
AB731,1,6 1An Act to repeal 985.03 (1) (a) 1. and 985.03 (1) (a) 2.; to renumber and amend
2985.03 (1) (c); to amend 985.01 (5), 985.02 (1), 985.03 (1) (a) (intro.) and 985.03
3(2); and to create 985.01 (1b), 985.01 (3g), 985.03 (1) (a) 1m., 985.03 (1) (a) 2m.,
4985.03 (1) (a) 3., 985.03 (1) (am) and 985.03 (1) (cm) of the statutes; relating
5to:
qualification of newspapers to receive compensation for publication of legal
6notice.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill modifies the criteria by which a newspaper may receive compensation
for the publication of a legal notice. The bill also makes several technical changes
to the structure of the provisions that govern the qualification of newspapers able to
receive compensation or a fee for publishing a legal notice. These changes include
moving the definitions for bona fide paid circulation and newspaper into the
definitions section of the chapter that governs the publication of legal notices.
Currently, when a legal notice is required to be published, the notice must be
published in a newspaper likely to give notice in the area or to the person affected
by the notice. A newspaper that publishes a legal notice may not receive
compensation for publishing the notice unless the newspaper is a qualified
newspaper. To be a qualified newspaper, the newspaper must have a bona fide paid
circulation, satisfy certain requirements related to continuity of publication, and file
a certificate with the county clerk stating its place of publication and that it qualifies

under current law. Under current law and under the bill, a “bona fide paid
circulation” means a paid circulation of a newspaper in which the publisher sells 50
percent or more of the circulation of the newspaper and the publisher has actual
subscribers at each publication of not less than 1,000 copies in first and second class
cities or 300 copies in third and fourth class cities, villages, or towns. In addition,
to be a qualified newspaper, the newspaper must have been published regularly and
continuously in the area for at least two of the five years immediately preceding the
date of publication of the notice (durational requirement).
This bill broadens the scope of qualified newspapers to include both of the
following: 1) a newspaper that has had a bona fide paid circulation, is a successor to
a newspaper that satisfies the durational requirement, and has resumed publication
following succession within 30 days; and 2) a newspaper that has had a bona fide paid
circulation, has merged or consolidated with one or more newspapers, and one of the
newspapers has been continuously published at regular intervals of at least once
each week for at least 50 issues each year for at least one year prior to the publication
of the notice.
Also under this bill, if no newspaper in a city, village, or town satisfies the bona
fide paid circulation and durational requirements under current law and created
under the bill, a newspaper that is published regularly and continuously in the city,
village, or town and that meets the other qualifications for receiving a fee may be
awarded or entitled to a fee for publishing a legal notice if publication in the
newspaper is likely to give notice in the area or to the affected person.
Finally, the bill modifies the definition for newspaper. Under current law, a
newspaper is defined, in part, as “a publication that is published at regular intervals
and at least once a week, containing reports of happenings of recent occurrence of a
varied character, such as political, social, moral and religious subjects, designed to
inform the general reader.” Under the bill, the publication must contain, on average,
25 percent news content per issue. The bill defines news content to mean “written
information and images, other than advertisements, that are printed in a
publication.”
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
AB731,1 1Section 1. 985.01 (1b) of the statutes is created to read:
AB731,2,32 985.01 (1b) “Bona fide paid circulation” means the paid circulation of a
3newspaper that satisfies all of the following:
AB731,2,54 (a) The publisher of the newspaper sells 50 percent or more of the circulation
5of the newspaper.
AB731,3,3
1(b) The publisher of the newspaper has actual subscribers at each publication
2of not less than 1,000 copies in 1st and 2nd class cities or 300 copies in 3rd and 4th
3class cities, villages, or towns.
AB731,2 4Section 2. 985.01 (3g) of the statutes is created to read:
AB731,3,65 985.01 (3g) “News content” means written information and images, other than
6advertisements, that are printed in a publication.
AB731,3 7Section 3. 985.01 (5) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB731,3,138 985.01 (5) A newspaper is “published" at the place from which its mailing
9permit is issued, except that if the place where the newspaper has its major
10concentration of circulation has no primary post office, then at the place it shall
11designate as its place of publication in the affidavit required by s. 985.03 (2) (1) (cm),
12but no newspaper shall have more than one place of publication during the same
13period of time.
AB731,4 14Section 4. 985.02 (1) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB731,3,2015 985.02 (1) Except as otherwise provided by law, a legal notice shall be published
16in a newspaper likely to give notice in the area or to the person affected. Whenever
17the law requires publication in a newspaper published in a designated municipality
18or area and no newspaper that satisfies the requirements under s. 985.03 (1) (a) or
19(am)
is published therein, publication shall be made in a newspaper likely to give
20notice.
AB731,5 21Section 5. 985.03 (1) (a) (intro.) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB731,4,222 985.03 (1) (a) (intro.) No Except as provided in par. (am), no publisher of any
23newspaper in this state shall be awarded or be entitled to any compensation or fee
24for the publishing of any legal notice unless, for at least 2 of the 5 years immediately
25before the date of the notice publication,
the newspaper has been published regularly

1and continuously in the city, village or town where published, and
has had a bona fide
2paid circulation and one of the following applies:
AB731,6 3Section 6. 985.03 (1) (a) 1. of the statutes is repealed.
AB731,7 4Section 7. 985.03 (1) (a) 1m. of the statutes is created to read:
AB731,4,75 985.03 (1) (a) 1m. For at least 2 of the 5 years immediately before the date of
6the publication of the notice, the newspaper has been published regularly and
7continuously in the city, village, or town where published.
AB731,8 8Section 8. 985.03 (1) (a) 2. of the statutes is repealed.
AB731,9 9Section 9. 985.03 (1) (a) 2m. of the statutes is created to read:
AB731,4,1210 985.03 (1) (a) 2m. The newspaper is a successor to a newspaper described in
11subd. 1m. and the successor newspaper has resumed publication following
12succession within 30 days.
AB731,10 13Section 10. 985.03 (1) (a) 3. of the statutes is created to read:
AB731,4,1814 985.03 (1) (a) 3. The newspaper has merged or consolidated with one or more
15newspapers and one of the newspapers subject to the consolidation or merger has
16been continuously published at regular intervals of at least once each week for at
17least 50 issues each year for at least one year prior to the first publication of the
18notice.
AB731,11 19Section 11. 985.03 (1) (am) of the statutes is created to read:
AB731,4,2320 985.03 (1) (am) If there is not a newspaper in a city, village, or town that
21satisfies the requirements under par. (a), the publisher of a newspaper that satisfies
22all of the following may be awarded or be entitled to compensation or a fee for the
23publishing of a legal notice:
AB731,5,3
11. The newspaper is published regularly and continuously in the city, village,
2or town and publishing in the newspaper is likely to give notice in the area or to the
3affected person.
AB731,5,44 2. The newspaper is otherwise qualified under this section.
AB731,12 5Section 12. 985.03 (1) (c) of the statutes is renumbered 985.01 (3r) and
6amended to read:
AB731,5,157 985.01 (3r) A newspaper, under this chapter, is “Newspaper” means a
8publication that is published at regular intervals and at least once a week,
9containing, on average, 25 percent news content per issue, including reports of
10happenings of recent occurrence of a varied character, such as political, social, moral
11and religious subjects, designed to inform the general reader. The definition
12“Newspaper” includes a daily newspaper published in a county having a population
13of 500,000 or more, devoted principally to business news and publishing of records,
14which has been designated by the courts of record of the county for publication of
15legal notices for a period of 6 months or more.
AB731,13 16Section 13. 985.03 (1) (cm) of the statutes is created to read:
AB731,5,1917 985.03 (1) (cm) A newspaper in order to be eligible under this section shall also
18file a certificate with the county clerk stating that it qualifies under this section and
19stating its place of publication.
AB731,14 20Section 14. 985.03 (2) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB731,6,421 985.03 (2) Any person charged with the duty of causing legal notices to be
22published, and who causes any legal notice, to be published in any newspaper not
23eligible to so publish under the requirements of sub. (1), or who fails to cause such
24legal notice to be published in any newspaper eligible under this section, may be
25fined not to exceed $100 for each offense. Each day in which a legal notice should

1have been but was not published as required by law shall constitute a separate
2offense hereunder. A newspaper in order to be eligible under this section shall also
3file a certificate with the county clerk stating that it qualifies under this section and
4stating its place of publication.
AB731,6,55 (End)
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