The purpose of public notice is to inform the public about government activities, thus enabling citizens to make well-informed
decisions. Public notices provide the opportunity for citizens to influence governing bodies and to be active participants
in a democratic society.
Public notice laws exist to ensure transparency in government and easy access to information. Before a newspaper is designated
by the State to publish public notices, the newspaper must demonstrate that it has a paid circulation, a minimum percentage
of locally-generated news content, a local publishing address, and a continuous publishing history. The latter requirement
ensures stability in the venue for public notices, so that the public will have a reliable place to search for public
There are four elements that mark a valid public notice:
Public notices that provide information about government activities are designed to alert the public of government activities,
and provide an opportunity for the public to comment on such activities. Some of these public notices include publication
of government budgets, notices of public hearings, and notices of intentions to change government run or managed programs.
Public notices that 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.
Public notice laws also require corporations and other business entities to publish their intention to do business in
an area, which provides the public with the opportunity to either support or oppose such intentions. Public notice
is also required when a business or corporation dissolves. This serves to protect creditors and consumers from fraudulent
Public notice laws also provide notice of unclaimed property.
The final type of public notice consists of notices by non-governmental entities which use public powers or institutions
in some way, such as court notices, probate, etc.
Through the publishing of financial reports, citizens can see if tax dollars are being wasted. With notices of incorporation
and dissolution, citizens can be aware of who is doing business in their community and ensure that businesses are not
abusing limited liability incorporations to avoid the payment of debts.
Further, through public notices, citizens are given the opportunity to make their voices heard in public hearings and
meetings. Citizens use 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.