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LRB-1157/1
SWB:cdc
2021 - 2022 LEGISLATURE
February 10, 2021 - Introduced by Representatives Kitchens, Armstrong,
Billings, Doyle, Duchow, James, Knodl, Loudenbeck, Milroy, Moses,
Mursau, Novak, Rozar, Skowronski, Steffen, Subeck, Vruwink and
Spreitzer, cosponsored by Senators Cowles, Bewley, Pfaff and Testin.
Referred to Committee on Local Government.
AB47,1,5 1An Act to repeal 985.01 (1b) (a); to consolidate, renumber and amend 985.01
2(1b) (intro.) and (b); and to amend 985.01 (3r), 985.02 (3), 985.03 (1) (a) 1m.,
3985.03 (1) (am) 1. and 985.08 (8) of the statutes; relating to: qualification of
4newspapers to receive compensation for publication of legal notices and
5requirements relating to publication.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill changes the criteria for a newspaper to be eligible for compensation for
publication of legal notices. Under current law, with certain exceptions, in order for
a newspaper to qualify for compensation for publication of a legal notice, the
newspaper must have bona fide paid circulation, meaning the paid circulation of a
newspaper for which 1) the publisher of the newspaper sells 50 percent or more of
the circulation of the newspaper; and 2) the publisher of the newspaper has actual
subscribers at each publication of not less than 1,000 copies in first and second class
cities (cities of 150,000 people or more and cities with between 39,000 and 150,000
people, respectively); 300 copies in third and fourth class cities (cities with between
10,000 and 39,000 people and cities with less than 10,000 people, respectively);
villages; or towns. The bill eliminates the requirement that the publisher of the
newspaper sells 50 percent or more of the circulation of the newspaper.
Under current law, in addition to bona fide circulation, a newspaper must
generally meet one of the following criteria to qualify for compensation: 1) for at least
two of the five years immediately before the date of publication of a notice, have been

published regularly and continuously in the city, village, or town where published;
2) be a successor to such a newspaper and resumed publication following succession;
or 3) have merged or consolidated with one or more other newspapers and one of the
newspapers involved has been continuously published at regular intervals of at least
once each week for at at least 50 issues each year for at least one year prior to the
first publication of the notice. The bill modifies the first qualification, eliminating
the requirement that a newspaper be published regularly and continuously in the
city, village, or town where published for at least two of the five years immediately
before the date of publication of a notice, and instead allowing a newspaper to qualify
that has been published at least once a week for at least 50 consecutive issues prior
to the first publication of the notice in the city, village, or town where published.
Under current law, if there is not a newspaper in a city, village, or town that
meets any of the general criteria, a newspaper may still qualify for compensation
under an alternative provision if the newspaper is published regularly and
continuously in the city, village, or town, publishing in the newspaper is likely to give
notice in the area or to the affected person, and the newspaper is otherwise qualified
for compensation. The bill changes the alternative criteria, modifying the “regularly
and continuously” requirement to a requirement that the newspaper be circulated
at least once each week for at least 50 issues each year for one year prior to the first
publication of the notice in the city, village or town and requiring that the newspaper
contain, on average, at least 10 percent news content per issue. The bill also provides
an exception to the definition of “newspaper” to allow newspapers to qualify under
these alternative criteria.
The bill adds a requirement that a newspaper that publishes a legal notice must
place an electronic copy of the legal notice at no additional charge on that
newspaper's Internet site in addition to the current law requirement to place an
electronic copy on the Wisconsin newspapers legal notices Internet site. Under the
bill, every newspaper that publishes legal notices must have an Internet site and
must include on its home page a prominent link to the newspaper's legal notices
section. The bill requires that a newspaper's legal notices section must be available
for viewing at no cost to the public and must include a link to the Wisconsin
newspapers legal notices Internet site.
Finally, the bill provides that a tear sheet proof of a multiple insertion notice
that must, upon request, be mailed to an advertiser or the advertiser's attorney
within 72 hours after the first insertion may be sent in electronic format.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
AB47,1 1Section 1 . 985.01 (1b) (intro.) and (b) of the statutes are consolidated,
2renumbered 985.01 (1b) and amended to read:
AB47,3,2
1985.01 (1b) “Bona fide paid circulation” means the paid circulation of a
2newspaper that satisfies all of the following:
AB47,3,5 3(b) The for which the publisher of the newspaper has actual paid, digital, or
4electronic
subscribers at each publication of not less than 1,000 copies in 1st and 2nd
5class cities or 300 copies in 3rd and 4th class cities, villages, or towns.
AB47,2 6Section 2 . 985.01 (1b) (a) of the statutes is repealed.
AB47,3 7Section 3 . 985.01 (3r) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB47,3,198 985.01 (3r) “Newspaper” Except as otherwise provided in this subsection or in
9s. 985.03 (1) (am), “newspaper”
means a publication that is published at regular
10intervals and, except as otherwise provided in this subsection, at least once a week,
11containing, on average, [at least] at least 25 percent news content per issue,
12including reports of happenings of recent occurrence of a varied character, such as
13political, social, moral and religious subjects, designed to inform the general reader.
14“Newspaper” includes a daily newspaper published in a county having a population
15of 750,000 or more, devoted principally to business news and publishing of records,
16which has been designated by the courts of record of the county for publication of
17legal notices for a period of 6 months or more. “Newspaper” also includes a
18newspaper published in the town of Washington, Door County, at least 2 times a
19month.
AB47,4 20Section 4 . 985.02 (3) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB47,4,421 985.02 (3) The newspaper that publishes a legal notice shall, in addition to
22newspaper publication, place an electronic copy of the legal notice at no additional
23charge on the publishing newspaper's Internet site and on the Wisconsin
24newspapers legal notices Internet site. Every newspaper that publishes legal notices
25shall have an Internet site and include on its home page a prominent link to the

1newspaper's legal notices section, the contents of which shall be available for viewing
2at no cost to the public. The newspaper's Internet legal notice section shall include
3a link to the Wisconsin newspapers legal notices Internet site as defined in s. 985.01
4(7).
AB47,5 5Section 5 . 985.03 (1) (a) 1m. of the statutes is amended to read:
AB47,4,96 985.03 (1) (a) 1m. For at least 2 of the 5 years immediately before the date of
7the publication of the notice, the
The newspaper has been published regularly and
8continuously
at least once each week for at least 50 consecutive issues prior to the
9first publication of the notice
in the city, village, or town where published.
AB47,6 10Section 6 . 985.03 (1) (am) 1. of the statutes is amended to read:
AB47,4,1511 985.03 (1) (am) 1. The newspaper is published regularly and continuously has
12been circulated at least once each week for at least 50 issues each year for one year
13prior to the first publication of the notice and containing, on average, at least 10
14percent news content per issue
in the city, village, or town and publishing in the
15newspaper is likely to give notice in the area or to the affected person.
AB47,7 16Section 7 . 985.08 (8) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB47,4,2017 985.08 (8) Upon request, a tear sheet proof of a multiple insertion notice shall
18be mailed or sent in electronic format to the advertiser or the advertiser's attorney
19within 72 hours after the first insertion, and an additional charge of $1 for such tear
20sheet proof may be made.
AB47,4,2121 (End)
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