Virginia Allows Legal Notices To Be Placed In Online-Only Publications

Legislation allowing legal notices to be published in strictly online news publications was signed by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin on Tuesday.   

The bills, HB 264 and SB 157, state that when ordnances and notices are required by law to be published in a newspaper, they “instead may be published in an online-only news publication.” 

Local News Now reports that Virginia is the first state to approve such a measure. And publishers have registered their approval.  

“The Virginia Press Association believes that independent, third-party local news sites (print or online) are the best place to publish government public notices,” says Betsy Edwards, executive director of the Virginia Press Association, according to Local News Now.

Edwards adds, “We supported this legislation because it utilizes local newspapers and news websites to provide the public with maximum transparency.”



But there is a process required. The online-only publication must petition the local circuit court for the authority to publish such notices for a period of one year. The publication can renew in subsequent years.  

Publishers in other states are being denied this revenue as locales seek to move the notices onto their own websites. For instance, the Wichita, Kansas City Council has ordered the city staff to prepare an option for getting the city out of its annual $150,000 contract with McClatchy for publishing notices in a local publication.


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