H. Scott Seal


H. Scott Seal is the managing editor of the Portageville Missourian-News and has over 30 years of newspapering experience.


There’s no substitute for a ‘Legal Newspaper’

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Internet Web Sites do not qualify when it comes to Public Notices!

It’s come to the attention of members of the Missouri Press Association that two bills filed in the Missouri Senate would affect public notices printed in newspapers, IF the legislation is passed by the General Assembly AND signed by incoming Governor Eric Greitens.

The first bill is Senate Bill 47, sponsored by Sen. Doug Libla (R-Poplar Bluff), would allow the Secretary of State’s office to establish a statewide web site where public notices would be posted, rather than in local newspapers.

Senate Bill 159, sponsored by Sen. Bob Dixon (R-Springfield), would allow foreclosure notices to be posted on web sites, rather than in local newspapers.

Printed newspapers, legally qualified under Section 493.050, RSMo, are the ONLY medium that satisfies the statutes for public notices that are required by law. Public governmental bodies may go beyond the statutes and publicize the notices on a web site or other supplemental means, but if the notice is required by Missouri law, then it must be published in a qualified printed newspaper.

The key statute that relates to this subject is Section 493.050, which provides the terms under which legal notices must be published. Any time an advertisement is required by law to be published or any time a publication must be made affecting title to real estate, the statute says that it must be published in a daily, triweekly, semiweekly or weekly newspaper of general circulation in the county where located AND which has been admitted to the post office as a periodicals class matter in the city where it is published.

In addition, it must have been published regularly and consecutively for three years and must have a list of bona fide subscribers who have paid or agreed to pay a certain price for the subscription for a certain period of time.

There are other provisions in chapter 493 that are important to note. Section 493.025 provides that the rate charged for publication of a legal notice shall be the “regular local classified advertising rate” which has been in effect for at least 30 days before publication of the notice.

That statute is modified by Section 493.027, which says that in any first class county and in St. Louis, a board consisting of the circuit court judges may qualify papers for publication of legal notices and may review and approve rates which may be charged for such notices. Public officials are mandated by Section 493.040 to accept the “most advantageous terms” in negotiating for legal notices.

Section 493.070 provides that in cities of 100,000 or more, all public notices which must be published shall be published in a daily newspaper which meets the requirements of Section 493.050.

Section 493.100 provides that in cities of more than 600,000 residents, notices of power of sale of real estate must run in a daily newspaper with annual cash receipts from circulation in excess of $6,000.00. These papers, according to Section 493.110, are selected by the circuit court judges in much the same way that Section 493.027 provides for selection of legal notice papers.