LMC 2014 Legislative Priority for the 'Unsession': Alternative Publication for Cities

The League seeks input from cities on newspaper publication costs for 2014 lobbying effort.
(Published Dec 9, 2013)

In the next few days, the League will be sending out the annual Fiscal Conditions Survey to all chief administrative officers in cities across the state. The survey will include questions about the cost of newspaper publication of public notices. This data will be crucial to lobbying efforts this session to create alternative website publication options for cities.

Legislation introduced during the 2013 session—SF 1152 (Sen. John Pederson, R-St. Cloud) and HF 1286 (Rep. Zachary Dorholt, DFL-St. Cloud)—would allow cities to use websites to publish public notices and other required documents. The bill language is permissive; cities could decide whether web publication should replace or supplement newspaper publication. The legislation will continue to be considered during the 2014 session.

Many cities post public notices on their websites while also publishing them in the designated newspaper. Not only is this burdensome and costly for cities, but citizens demand and expect that information be available online and instantly. Utilizing city websites increases transparency in government by providing constant and timely access to public notices.

Gov. Dayton has called for the 2014 legislative session to be an “Unsession.” A description of the “Unsession” from the governor’s website:

The Unsession is a first-of-its-kind effort to make government better, faster, simpler, and more efficient for people. We want to improve service, shorten wait times, eliminate old and outdated rules, and undo anything else that makes government nearly impossible for people to understand.

In a Minnesota Public Radio article, the governor said, “I think that’s going to be a huge opportunity to really pare back some of the excesses of government and government rules and regulations and procedures that just take up too much time and are duplicative or redundant or obsolete.”

The League believes that eliminating outdated publishing requirements for cities will help the governor to accomplish the goal of the Unsession.

As LMC Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) staff meet with legislators, information from the cities in their districts is essential to moving this bill forward. If your city is interested in meeting with your legislators about this issue, please contact IGR staff (see contact info at right) to help set up a meeting. Additionally, publication costs and city website tracking information from your city will be necessary in demonstrating the need for this change. The League encourages all cities to share this information by completing the Fiscal Conditions Survey.

Read the current issue of the Cities Bulletin

* By posting you are agreeing to the LMC Comment Policy.