Alaska News

Alaska Legislature plans to eliminate many mandatory newspaper public notices

newspaper stock

Alaska state lawmakers are preparing for a final vote on a bill that would eliminate the requirement that many public notices be published in local newspapers.

Senate Bill 68, which passed the Senate on a 17-0 vote in March, could be approved by the state House as soon as Monday.

In recent years, commercial advertising losses have contributed to steep budget cuts at community newspapers nationwide, and public-notice ads are one of the few advertising categories remaining in large quantities.

But public officials nationwide, citing a preference for internet publication, have begun repealing laws that require that public notices be published in local newspapers.

SB 68, mirroring that trend, would make newspaper publishing optional for notices involving unclaimed property at museums, land transfers involving recreational facilities, mining claims, changes to state regulations, and water appropriations.

Instead, state agencies would be required to publish notices on the state’s own online public notice system.

In Alaska, newspaper publishers have testified and written against SB 68 but haven’t been able to stop the bill’s advance.


[Alaska newspaper publishers worry about bill ending some public notice requirements]

On Sunday, Rep. Andrew Gray, D-Anchorage, attempted to amend the bill to require that agencies post notices on newspapers’ websites, but that proposal was defeated by a 19-20 vote. One lawmaker was absent from the vote.

Originally published by the Alaska Beacon, an independent, nonpartisan news organization that covers Alaska state government.