About Public Notice
Public notices are legally mandated publications that contain information alerting citizens of government or government-related activities that may cause a citizen to take action. Traditionally and effectively in newspapers, public notices may take on many forms. Most public notices provide information about government activities and are designed to alert the public and provide an opportunity for the public to comment.
Other public notices contain government requests for bids for services, purchases and other business-related activities are designed to provide businesses with the opportunity to participate in the government procurement process. The final type of public notice consists of notices by non-governmental entities which use public powers or institutions in some way, like our court system.
Public notices serve as a conduit of information from the government to the public. They enable citizens to monitor the actions of their local governments, as well as to keep track of events occurring the in the local court system. Public notices allow citizens to serve as watchdogs for fraud and incompetence by both government officials and private interests. Each year, examples of fraud are discovered by citizens who read their public notices.
Further, through public notices, citizens are given the opportunity to make their voices heard in public hearings and meetings. Citizens across the nation have used public notices and public hearings to object to changes in their community that could depress property values or alter the fabric of the area. Similarly, citizens have been able to participate in changes that enhance their communities, such as the construction of parks and other improvements. Allowing the public to influence the governing bodies of their local communities is crucial to the functioning of democratic society.
Alabama Designated Newspapers Defined:
Specific newspapers are designated to publish public notice advertisements in one of Alabama's 67 counties through certain qualifications. Public notices are required by state law to be published in print by a designated newspaper located in the county affected. In Alabama, the newspapers go a step further by posting the notices online, in a free searchable database: AlabamaPublicNotices.com.
Requirements to be considered a Designated Newspaper for Publication of Notice.
Code of Alabama Section 6-8-60§
(a) The party in interest or at whose instance the publication of notice is to be given by advertisement in a newspaper may designate the newspaper in which such advertisement shall be made. If the officer charged with the duty of making the advertisement disregards such designation and makes advertisement in some other paper, he or she must pay the cost thereof and shall not be entitled to reimbursement.
(b) All publications required by any law, mortgage, or other contract to be published in a newspaper must be published in any newspaper printed in the English language which has a general circulation in the county, regardless of where the paper is printed, if the principal editorial office of the newspaper is located within the county and which newspaper shall have been mailed under the publication class mailing privilege of the United States Postal Service from the post office where it is published for at least 51 weeks a year. The newspaper shall, without additional charge, also upload legal notice publications to a statewide website established and maintained by an entity having the capacity and ability to receive and upload notices from a majority of newspapers in this state. Any newspaper which also publishes a website in its own name shall also post legal notice publications on an Internet website published by the newspaper without additional charge.
Code of Alabama Section 6-8-62§
(c) A newspaper publishing a notice shall also place the notice on an Internet website operated by the newspaper, if the newspaper publishes a website, and on a statewide website established and maintained by an entity having the capacity and ability to receive and upload legal notices from the majority of newspapers in this state as a repository for the notices. Posting on the Internet shall begin on the first day of insertion and run continuously until the expiration of the specified time. All newspaper notices required pursuant to this section to be placed on the Internet shall remain valid for all purposes, and the legality of the newspaper publication shall not be affected by the failure of the newspaper for any reason to upload legal notice publications to a statewide website or to another Internet website or to accurately post the notice publication on any website.