PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A new requirement might be coming for paid legal notices that South Dakota law says state and local governments must publish to help newspaper readers stay informed about what they are doing.
The state House of Representatives voted 69-1 Monday to have the legal notices also go on a statewide website operated by an organization that represents a majority of newspapers in South Dakota.
House Speaker Spencer Gosch, R-Glenham, cast the only vote against HB 1075. The bill, sponsored by Representative Tim Reed, R-Brookings, now goes to the Senate for further action. Its lead sponsor in that chamber is Senator Herman Otten, R-Lennox.
The Brookings-based South Dakota Newspaper Association sent out a two-part tweet afterward expressing gratitude.
“Thank you to S.D. House for voting 69-1 today to support HB1075. Bill requires newspapers to post to the web public notices that are printed in the newspaper (school board minutes, bid notices, etc.). Bill also recognizes e-editions of newspapers.
“Bill represents collective, pro-active step by South Dakota’s newspapers to enhance the reach and transparency of government public notices. Thank you to @D7_Tim_Reed for sponsoring bill.”
Reed said it would help the newspaper industry modernize. “It’s something I’ve always challenged the newspapers to do,” he said.
Representative Will Mortenson, R-Pierre, asked whether a five-day e-newsletter would qualify as a legal newspaper. Reed answered no because a U.S. postal permit is necessary.
Mortenson asked how many days of publication would be necessary to qualify. Reed didn’t know.
Representative Randy Gross, R-Elkton, asked whether the legal newspaper had to be printed in South Dakota. Reed said the law was about public notices and newspapers should be able to print wherever is most affordable.
The Sioux Falls Argus Leader now is physically published in Des Moines, Iowa, and shipped back to South Dakota.
The public can benefit from requiring that legal ads go on an electronic statewide website, Reed said. “I think that’s good for open government.”