From The Indianapolis Star:

Q: What are the rules for where sheriff sale public notice advertisements must be placed?

IC 32-29-7-3 says the sheriff is bound to publish in a newspaper of “general circulation.” IC 5-3-1-0-4 says a newspaper can be used for public notices if it has at least 50 percent of the paid circulation of the largest newspaper in the county with a periodicals class permit.

A: Courts have ruled that “general circulation” can be as few as a dozen subscribers in a township to qualify for public notices. If a publication meets the criteria for a newspaper as defined at I.C. 5-3-1-0.4, it’s eligible for the sheriff to use to place public notices, even if there’s a larger circulation newspaper in the county.

The provision of the statute you are looking at is short-cut language for a newspaper to become eligible to carry public notices without waiting for three years of operation under the periodicals mail permit rules. If a newspaper can show with its statement of ownership that it has at least half the circulation of the current largest paper in the county, then it becomes eligible to carry public notices, rather than waiting until three years of operation.

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