After losing the requirement to publish public notices in Florida last year, Richard Karpel, Executive Director of the Public Notice Resource Center (PNRC), is telling newspapers to improve how they display public notices on their websites.

In spite of research that shows that 66% of U.S. citizens surveyed believe public notices should be published in newspapers, and 55% rely on newspapers for information on public notices and government (Source: American’s Newspaper, 2023), Florida became the first state to remove print publication requirements for public notices. Signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the bill HB 7048 went into effect in January 2023.

It allows any governmental agency in Florida to simply publish public notices on a county website.

Counties with fewer than 160,000 residents, which include 36 of Florida’s 67 counties, Karpel says, will still have to hold a hearing first, but only to establish whether there is enough broadband coverage to ensure access to the county website. Hearings aren’t required for larger counties.

As in the past, other bills in other states have died on the vine. The Iowa state legislature adjourned for the year, effectively killing its bill. An Arizona bill would allow government units in Maricopa County to publish notice on their websites in lieu of newspapers, although Karpel noted in an email interview that, “If it passes there’s a likely chance the governor would veto it, although I don’t know if I’d use the word ‘likely.’”

So in a recent PNRC post Karpel contends a top priority for newspapers is this: “Don’t hide” the public notices online. It’s one of the most important things newspapers can do to help their state press associations”.

The article goes on to point out that an online reader of a Rhode Island newspaper opinion piece, supporting public notice publishing requirements, commented that they could not even find the public notices in the paper.

For the online version, a best practice for local newspapers is a two click experience from the top half of the home page to find both the published public notices and a link to place an order.

The ease of online-order taking is so important because newspapers compete for convenience as well as relevance and reach as a public service. The main competition: posting public notices on county government websites.

Even affidavits—the more complex component of servicing public notices online due to signatory requirements—is now automated and available to all of iPublish Media Solutions partners.

For more information on how to ramp up the public notices presence and automation, contact Malcolm McGrory at or  978-985-0867.