From the Hamilton News:

Q: Which public notice advertisers must receive a publisher’s claim form with detailed line calculations?

A: The publisher’s claim form is an official form used when newspapers invoice a state or local government entity for the placement of a public notice advertisement.

Generally, when a city, township, school district, etc., place a public notice advertisement, a publisher’s claim form is required for them to process the bill.

One prominent exception would be notices of sheriff’s sales (mortgage foreclosures). The buyers of the properties are charged for the sale cost, including advertising, so those notices aren’t subject to the price cap that you face under the public notice advertising law.

Also not subject to the price cap are notices that are paid for by private parties. So a publisher’s claim form isn’t required for those advertisers either. We’re talking about lawyers filing notice of the opening of an estate; people seeking a legal name change; a business that has to give notice of its intent to seek a zoning change; etc. You can charge them your normal classified advertising rate.

One thing to note: If your normal classified advertising line rate is cheaper than the maximum rate allowed under the law for public notice advertising, you can’t charge more than your normal rate for public notices. It’s like an extra cap on you.

That may not be an issue for you, but it’s something to watch because the rates might be close for small newspapers.

If your normal rate is lower than the state-capped rate, you can always change what you charge your normal classified customers to match the state-maximum rate. But that’s a business decision, and you would have to weigh whether increasing that rate will cost you classified customers.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.

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