PUBLICATION OF LEGAL NOTICES; PUBLIC NEWSPAPERS; FEES
Method of notification.
Qualifications of newspapers.
Official state newspaper.
Official municipal newspapers.
Official city newspaper.
Publication and printing; counties with population of 250,000 or more.
Classes and frequency of legal notices.
Substance of 2nd and 3rd insertions.
Fees for publishing.
Computation of time, Sundays, legal holidays.
Publication on Sunday.
Fees and work on Sunday.
Proof of publication.
Change of name or discontinuance of paper.
Refusal to publish.
Forfeiture for refusal to publish.
As used in this chapter, unless the context requires otherwise:
“Bona fide paid circulation” means the paid circulation of a newspaper for which the publisher of the newspaper has actual print, digital, or electronic subscribers for each publication of not less than 1,000 copies for 1st and 2nd class cities or 300 copies for 3rd and 4th class cities, villages, or towns.
Except as provided in par. (b)
, “insertion,” when used to indicate the publication of a legal notice more than one time, means once each week for consecutive weeks, the last of which shall be at least one week before the act or event, unless otherwise specified by law.
With respect to a newspaper published in the town of Washington, Door County, at least 2 times a month, “insertion,” when used to indicate the publication of a legal notice more than one time, means once in each issue of consecutive issues published at intervals of at least one week, the last issue of which shall be published at least one week before the act or event, unless otherwise specified by law.
“Legal notice" means every notice required by law or by order of a court to be published in a newspaper or other publication, except notices required by private and local laws to be published in newspapers, and includes all of the following:
Every publication of laws, ordinances, resolutions, financial statements, budgets and proceedings intended to give notice in an area.
Every notice and certificate of election, facsimile ballot, referenda, notice of public hearing before a governmental body, and notice of meetings of private and public bodies required by law.
Every summons, order, citation, notice of sale or other notice that is intended to inform a person that the person may or shall do an act or exercise a right within a designated period or upon or by a designated date.
“News content” means written information and images, other than advertisements, that are printed in a publication.
Except as otherwise provided in this subsection or in s. 985.03 (1) (am)
, “newspaper” means a publication that is published at regular intervals and at least once a week, with a minimum of 50 issues each year containing, on average, at least 25 percent news content per issue, including reports of happenings of recent occurrence of a varied character, such as political, social, moral and religious subjects, designed to inform the general reader. “Newspaper” includes a daily newspaper published in a county having a population of 750,000 or more, devoted principally to business news and publishing of records, which has been designated by the courts of record of the county for publication of legal notices for a period of 6 months or more. “Newspaper” also includes a newspaper published in the town of Washington, Door County, at least 2 times a month.
“Proceedings," when published in newspapers, mean the substance of every official action taken by a local governing body at any meeting, regular or special.
A newspaper is “published" at the place from which its mailing permit is issued, except that if the place where the newspaper has its major concentration of circulation has no primary post office, then at the place it shall designate as its place of publication in the affidavit required by s. 985.03 (1) (cm)
, but no newspaper shall have more than one place of publication during the same period of time.
“Substance" is an intelligible abstract or synopsis of the essential elements of the official action taken by a local governing body, including the subject matter of a motion, the persons making and seconding the motion and the roll call vote on the motion, except that ordinances and resolutions published as required by law need not be republished in proceedings, but a reference to their subject matter shall be sufficient.
“Wisconsin newspapers legal notices Internet site" means an Internet site maintained by Wisconsin newspapers for the purpose of providing and maintaining an electronic version of printed and published legal notices.
Method of notification. 985.02(1)(1)
Except as otherwise provided by law, a legal notice shall be published in a newspaper likely to give notice in the area or to the person affected. Whenever the law requires publication in a newspaper published in a designated municipality or area and no newspaper that satisfies the requirements under s. 985.03 (1) (a)
is published therein, publication shall be made in a newspaper likely to give notice.
If the governing body of a municipality elects to post under s. 985.05 (1)
it shall post in the following manner:
The notice must be posted in at least 3 public places likely to give notice to persons affected or must be posted in at least one public place likely to give notice to persons affected and placed electronically on an Internet site maintained by the municipality.
The notice posted before the act or event requiring notice shall be posted and, if applicable, placed electronically, no later than the time specified for the first newspaper publication.
The notice posted after the act or event requiring notice shall be posted and, if applicable, placed electronically, within one week after the act or event. Actions of governing bodies posted after the act or event shall be effective upon posting.
The affidavit of the officer or person posting the legal notice containing the time, place and manner of the posting is presumptive evidence of the facts stated therein.
The newspaper that publishes a legal notice shall, in addition to newspaper publication, place an electronic copy of the legal notice at no additional charge on the publishing newspaper's Internet site and on the Wisconsin newspapers legal notices Internet site. Every newspaper that publishes legal notices shall have an Internet site and include on its home page a prominent link to the newspaper's legal notices section, the contents of which shall be available for viewing at no cost to the public. The newspaper's Internet legal notice section shall include a link to the Wisconsin newspapers legal notices Internet site, as defined in s. 985.01 (7)
A county with a population of less that 250,000 is not required to designate an official newspaper. A county is not required to seek bids for the publication of legal notices. Even if a county does not competitively bid the publication of its own proceedings as provided in sub. (3), it may print its own proceedings or post them on its web site. A county may not, in lieu of publication in a printed newspaper or posting on a physical bulletin board, post its legal notices on its official web site. OAG 2-08
Qualifications of newspapers. 985.03(1)(a)
Except as provided in par. (am)
, no publisher of any newspaper in this state shall be awarded or be entitled to any compensation or fee for the publishing of any legal notice unless the newspaper has had a bona fide paid circulation and one of the following applies:
The newspaper has been published at least once each week for at least 50 consecutive issues prior to the first publication of the notice in the city, village, or town where published, or the newspaper can verify to the department of administration using postal records that the newspaper has been circulated to the minimum number of print, digital, or electronic subscribers required under s. 985.01 (1b)
prior to the issuance of its mailing permit from its place of publication, as set forth in s. 985.01 (5)
The newspaper is a successor to a newspaper described in subd. 1m.
and the successor newspaper has resumed publication following succession within 30 days.
The newspaper has merged or consolidated with one or more newspapers and one of the newspapers subject to the consolidation or merger 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 first publication of the notice.
If there is not a newspaper in a city, village, or town that satisfies the requirements under par. (a)
, the publisher of a newspaper that satisfies all of the following may be awarded or be entitled to compensation or a fee for the publishing of a legal notice:
The newspaper has been 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 publishing in the newspaper is likely to give notice in the area or to the affected person.
The newspaper is otherwise qualified under this section.
Suspension of publication resulting from the mobilization of troops being called to active duty with the armed forces, strike, lockout or damage, or destruction due to war, fire or act of God, shall not count as an interval in publication.
A period of disqualification not to exceed 2 years due only to the place of publication shall not count as an interval in publication.