Focus on New Laws: Proposed Ordinance Notification

Cities are now required to provide 10-day notice for almost all city ordinances.
(Published May 30, 2017)

Under a new law (Chapter 77), cities must provide a 10-day notice of most proposed ordinances. The measure was signed into law by Gov. Dayton on May 23, and will be effective on Aug. 1.

The law applies to new proposed ordinances and proposed amendments to existing ordinances contemplated by a city. Interim ordinances are exempt.

Notification requirements
At least 10 days before a city council schedules a final vote on a proposed ordinance or proposed amendment to an ordinance, it needs to:

  • Provide email notification of proposed ordinances if the city has an electronic notification system that distributes general city information or notices via email.
  • Post notice of a proposed ordinance in the same location as other public notices if a city does not have an electronic notification system.
  • Update the city website with proposed ordinance language if the city posts ordinances on its website. If ordinances are not on the city’s website, the city does not have to post proposed ordinances on its website.

If a city has an electronic notification system, the city also must inform those who apply for a new business license or license renewal of these notification procedures at the time of the application.

Email notification
The new law requires cities with electronic notification systems to allow individuals to sign up to receive proposed ordinance notifications via email. If cities do not have electronic notification systems, there is no requirement to create such systems; instead, the city must post notice of proposed ordinances in the same place as other public notices.

Consequences of not complying
Failure to provide this notice does not invalidate an adopted or amended ordinance.

Legislative background
This bill was introduced in 2015 and 2016, originally requiring a 15-day notice mailed to businesses. The mailed notice was for any ordinance that would have affected the location or availability of products or services provided by a business. This initial version of the bill also included counties.

In 2017, counties were removed from the bill. The city notice requirement was lessened to a 10-day notice to be consistent with a similar requirement for county ordinances.

League opposed the bill
The League expressed opposition to this bill, explaining that the 10-day notice would delay the ability of cities to adopt ordinances, particularly cutting in half the time of cities with limited staff to study an issue, get legal guidance, and draft or amend ordinances.

The League also explained that cities who meet on a biweekly basis were almost guaranteed to have to postpone adoption of an ordinance with a 10-day notice, since these cities have very little time to draft an ordinance if a city council requests it for the next meeting.

More details on this and other new laws will be available in the League’s 2017 Law Summaries publication, which is scheduled to be published in June.

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