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The Florida Statutes

The 2022 Florida Statutes

Title VI
CIVIL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
Chapter 50
LEGAL AND OFFICIAL ADVERTISEMENTS
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CHAPTER 50
CHAPTER 50
LEGAL AND OFFICIAL ADVERTISEMENTS
50.011 Publication of legal notices.
50.021 Publication when no newspaper in county.
50.0211 Internet website publication.
50.031 Newspapers in which legal notices and process may be published.
50.0311 Publication of advertisements and public notices on a publicly accessible website and governmental access channels.
50.041 Proof of publication; uniform affidavits required.
50.051 Proof of publication; form of uniform affidavit.
50.061 Amounts chargeable.
50.0711 Court docket fund; service charges; publications.
50.011 Publication of legal notices.Whenever by statute an official or legal advertisement or a publication or notice in a newspaper or on a governmental agency website has been or is directed or permitted in the nature of or in lieu of process, or for constructive service, or in initiating, assuming, reviewing, exercising, or enforcing jurisdiction or power, or for any purpose, including all legal notices and advertisements of sheriffs and tax collectors, such legislation, whether existing or repealed, means either of the following:
(1) A publication in a newspaper printed and published periodically at least once a week, containing at least 25 percent of its words in the English language, available to the public generally for the publication of official or other notices and customarily containing information of a public character or of interest or of value to the residents or owners of property in the county where published, or of interest or of value to the general public, which:
(a) Has an audience consisting of at least 10 percent of the households in the county or municipality, as determined by the most recent decennial census, where the legal or public notice is being published or posted, by calculating the combination of the total of the number of print copies reflecting the day of highest print circulation, of which at least 25 percent of such print copies must be delivered to individuals’ home or business addresses, as certified biennially by a certified independent third-party auditor, and the total number of online unique monthly visitors to the newspaper’s website from within the state, as measured by industry-accepted website analytics software. The newspaper must also be sold, or otherwise available to the public, at no less than 10 publicly accessible outlets. For legal and public notices published by nongovernmental entities, the newspaper’s audience in the county or municipality where the project, property, or other primary subject of the notice is located must meet the 10 percent threshold; or
(b) Is entered or qualified to be admitted and entered as periodical class mail at a post office in the county where published.
(2) A publication on a publicly accessible website under s. 50.0311.
History.s. 2, ch. 3022, 1877; RS 1296; GS 1727; s. 1, ch. 5610, 1907; RGS 2942; s. 1, ch. 12104, 1927; CGL 4666, 4901; s. 1, ch. 63-387; s. 6, ch. 67-254; s. 21, ch. 99-2; s. 1, ch. 2021-17; s. 1, ch. 2022-103.
Note.Former s. 49.01.
50.021 Publication when no newspaper in county.When any law, or order or decree of court, directs advertisements to be made in a county and there is no newspaper published in the county, the advertisement may be published on a publicly accessible website as provided in s. 50.0311 or made by posting three copies thereof in three different places in the county, one of which shall be at the front door of the courthouse, and by publication in the nearest county in which a newspaper qualified under this chapter is published.
History.RS 1297; GS 1728; RGS 2943; CGL 4667; s. 6, ch. 67-254; s. 2, ch. 2021-17; s. 2, ch. 2022-103.
Note.Former s. 49.02.
50.0211 Internet website publication.
(1) This section applies to legal notices that must be published in accordance with this chapter unless otherwise specified.
(2) If a governmental agency publishes a legal notice in the print edition of a newspaper, each legal notice must be published on the newspaper’s website on the same day that the printed notice appears in the newspaper, at no additional charge, in a separate web page titled “Legal Notices,” “Legal Advertising,” or comparable identifying language. A link to the legal notices web page shall be provided on the front page of the newspaper’s website that provides access to the legal notices. If there is a specified size and placement required for a printed legal notice, the size and placement of the notice on the newspaper’s website must optimize its online visibility in keeping with the print requirements. The newspaper’s web pages that contain legal notices must present the legal notices as the dominant and leading subject matter of those pages. The newspaper’s website must contain a search function to facilitate searching the legal notices. A fee may not be charged, and registration may not be required, for viewing or searching legal notices on a newspaper’s website if the legal notice is published in a newspaper.
(3)(a) If a legal notice is published in the print edition of a newspaper, the newspaper publishing the notice shall place the notice on the statewide website established and maintained as an initiative of the Florida Press Association as a repository for such notices located at the following address: www.floridapublicnotices.com.
(b) A legal notice placed on the statewide website created under this subsection must be:
1. Accessible and searchable by party name and case number.
2. Published for a period of at least 90 consecutive days after the first day of publication.
(c) The statewide website created under this subsection shall maintain a searchable archive of all legal notices published on the publicly accessible website for 18 months after the first day of publication. Such searchable archive shall be provided and accessible to the general public without charge.
History.s. 1, ch. 2012-212; s. 1, ch. 2014-210; s. 3, ch. 2021-17; s. 3, ch. 2022-4; s. 3, ch. 2022-103.
50.031 Newspapers in which legal notices and process may be published.If a governmental agency publishes a legal notice in a newspaper, no notice or publication required to be published in the nature of or in lieu of process of any kind, nature, character, or description provided for under any law of the state, whether heretofore or hereafter enacted, and whether pertaining to constructive service, or the initiating, assuming, reviewing, exercising, or enforcing jurisdiction or power, by any court in this state, or any notice of sale of property, real or personal, for taxes, state, county, or municipal, or sheriff’s, guardian’s, or administrator’s or any sale made pursuant to any judicial order, decree, or statute or any other publication or notice pertaining to any affairs of the state, or any county, municipality, or other political subdivision thereof, shall be deemed to have been published in accordance with the statutes providing for such publication, unless the same shall have been published for the prescribed period of time required for such publication, in a newspaper which at the time of such publication shall have been in existence for 2 years and meets the requirements set forth in s. 50.011, or in a newspaper which is a direct successor of a newspaper which has been so published; provided, however, that nothing herein contained shall apply where in any county there shall be no newspaper in existence which shall have been published for the length of time above prescribed. No legal publication of any kind, nature, or description, as herein defined, shall be valid or binding or held to be in compliance with the statutes providing for such publication unless the same shall have been published in accordance with this section or s. 50.0311. Proof of such publication shall be made by uniform affidavit.
History.ss. 1-3, ch. 14830, 1931; CGL 1936 Supp. 4274(1); s. 7, ch. 22858, 1945; s. 6, ch. 67-254; s. 1, ch. 74-221; s. 22, ch. 99-2; s. 4, ch. 2021-17; s. 4, ch. 2022-103.
Note.Former s. 49.03.
50.0311 Publication of advertisements and public notices on a publicly accessible website and governmental access channels.
(1) For purposes of this chapter, the term “governmental agency” means a county, municipality, school board, or other unit of local government or political subdivision in this state.
(2) For purposes of notices and advertisements required under s. 50.011, the term “publicly accessible website” means a county’s official website or other private website designated by the county for the publication of legal notices and advertisements that is accessible via the Internet. All advertisements and public notices published on a website as provided in this chapter must be in searchable form and indicate the date on which the advertisement or public notice was first published on the website.
(3) A governmental agency may use the publicly accessible website of the county in which it lies to publish legally required advertisements and public notices if the cost of publishing advertisements and public notices on such website is less than the cost of publishing advertisements and public notices in a newspaper.
(4) A governmental agency with at least 75 percent of its population located within a county with a population of fewer than 160,000 may use a publicly accessible website to publish legally required advertisements and public notices only if the governing body of the governmental agency, at a public hearing that has been noticed in a newspaper as provided in this chapter, determines that the residents of the governmental agency have sufficient access to the Internet by broadband service, as defined in s. 364.02, or by any other means, such that publishing advertisements and public notices on a publicly accessible website will not unreasonably restrict public access.
(5) A special district spanning the geographic boundaries of more than one county that satisfies the criteria for publishing and chooses to publish legally required advertisements and public notices on a publicly accessible website must publish such advertisements and public notices on the publicly accessible website of each county it spans. For purposes of this subsection, the term “special district” has the same meaning as in s. 189.012.
(6) A governmental agency that uses a publicly accessible website to publish legally required advertisements and public notices shall provide notice at least once per year in a newspaper of general circulation or another publication that is mailed or delivered to all residents and property owners throughout the government’s jurisdiction, indicating that property owners and residents may receive legally required advertisements and public notices from the governmental agency by first-class mail or e-mail upon registering their name and address or e-mail address with the governmental agency. The governmental agency shall maintain a registry of names, addresses, and e-mail addresses of property owners and residents who have requested in writing that they receive legally required advertisements and public notices from the governmental agency by first-class mail or e-mail.
(7) A link to advertisements and public notices published on a publicly accessible website shall be conspicuously placed:
(a) On the website’s homepage or on a page accessible through a direct link from the homepage.
(b) On the homepage of the website of each governmental agency publishing notices on the publicly accessible website or on a page accessible through a direct link from the homepage.
(8) A governmental agency that has a governmental access channel authorized under s. 610.109 may also include on its governmental access channel a summary of all advertisements and public notices that are published on a publicly accessible website.
(9) A public bid advertisement made by a governmental agency on a publicly accessible website must include a method to accept electronic bids.
History.s. 5, ch. 2022-103.
50.041 Proof of publication; uniform affidavits required.
(1) All affidavits made for the purpose of establishing proof of publication of public notices or legal advertisements shall be uniform throughout the state.
(2) Each such affidavit shall be printed upon white paper and shall be 81/2 inches in width and of convenient length, not less than 51/2 inches. A white margin of not less than 21/2 inches shall be left at the right side of each affidavit form and upon or in this space shall be substantially pasted a clipping which shall be a true copy of the public notice or legal advertisement for which proof is executed. Alternatively, the affidavit may be provided in electronic rather than paper form, provided the notarization of the affidavit complies with the requirements of s. 117.021.
(3) There may be a charge not to exceed $2 levied for the preparation and execution of each such proof of publication or affidavit.
History.s. 1, ch. 19290, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4668(1); s. 1, ch. 63-49; s. 26, ch. 67-254; s. 1, ch. 76-58; s. 2, ch. 2012-212; s. 5, ch. 2021-17.
Note.Former s. 49.04.
50.051 Proof of publication; form of uniform affidavit.The printed form upon which all such affidavits establishing proof of publication are to be executed shall be substantially as follows:

NAME OF COUNTY

STATE OF FLORIDA

COUNTY OF  :

Before the undersigned authority personally appeared  , who on oath says that he or she is   of   County, Florida; that the attached copy of advertisement, being a   in the matter of   in the   Court, was published on the publicly accessible website of   County, Florida, or in a newspaper by print in the issues of   on   (date)  .

Affiant further says that the website or newspaper complies with all legal requirements for publication in chapter 50, Florida Statutes.

Sworn to and subscribed before me this   day of  ,   (year)  , by  , who is personally known to me or who has produced   (type of identification)   as identification.

  (Signature of Notary Public)  

  (Print, Type, or Stamp Commissioned Name of Notary Public)  

  (Notary Public)  

History.s. 2, ch. 19290, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4668(2); s. 6, ch. 67-254; s. 1, ch. 93-62; s. 291, ch. 95-147; s. 23, ch. 99-2; s. 3, ch. 99-6; s. 6, ch. 2021-17; s. 6, ch. 2022-103.
Note.Former s. 49.05.
50.061 Amounts chargeable.
(1) The publisher of any newspaper publishing any and all official public notices or legal advertisements shall charge therefor the rates specified in this section without rebate, commission or refund.
(2) The charge for publishing each such official public notice or legal advertisement shall be 70 cents per square inch for the first insertion and 40 cents per square inch for each subsequent insertion, except that government notices required to be published more than once, the cost of which is paid for by the government and not paid in advance by or allowed to be recouped from private parties, may not be charged for the second and successive insertions at a rate greater than 85 percent of the original rate.
(3) Where the regular established minimum commercial rate per square inch of the newspaper publishing such official public notices or legal advertisements is in excess of the rate herein stipulated, said minimum commercial rate per square inch may be charged for all such legal advertisements or official public notices for each insertion, except that government notices required to be published more than once, the cost of which is paid for by the government and not paid in advance by or allowed to be recouped from private parties, may not be charged for the second and successive insertions at a rate greater than 85 percent of the original rate.
(4) A governmental agency publishing an official public notice or legal advertisement may procure publication by soliciting and accepting written bids from newspapers published in the county, in which case the specified charges in this section do not apply.
(5) If the public notice is published in the print edition of a newspaper, the publishing of the notice on the newspaper’s website pursuant to s. 50.0211(2) must be done at no additional charge.
(6) All official public notices and legal advertisements shall be charged and paid for on the basis of 6-point type on 6-point body, unless otherwise specified by statute.
(7) Any person violating this section, either by allowing or accepting any rebate, commission, or refund, commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(8) Failure to charge the rates prescribed by this section shall in no way affect the validity of any official public notice or legal advertisement and shall not subject same to legal attack upon such grounds.
History.s. 3, ch. 3022, 1877; RS 1298; GS 1729; RGS 2944; s. 1, ch. 12215, 1927; CGL 4668; ss. 1, 2, 2A, 2B, ch. 20264, 1941; s. 1, ch. 23663, 1947; s. 1, ch. 57-160; s. 1, ch. 63-50; s. 1, ch. 65-569; s. 6, ch. 67-254; s. 15, ch. 71-136; s. 35, ch. 73-332; s. 1, ch. 90-279; s. 3, ch. 2012-212; s. 2, ch. 2014-210; s. 7, ch. 2021-17; s. 7, ch. 2022-103.
Note.Former s. 49.06.
50.0711 Court docket fund; service charges; publications.
(1) The clerk of the court in each county may establish a court docket fund for the purpose of paying the cost of publication of the fact of the filing of any civil case in the circuit court of the county by the style and of the calendar relating to such cases. This court docket fund shall be funded by $1 mandatory court cost for all civil actions, suits, or proceedings filed in the circuit court of the county. The clerk shall maintain such funds separate and apart, and the proceeds from this court cost shall not be diverted to any other fund or for any purpose other than that established in this section. The clerk of the court shall dispense the fund to the designated publicly accessible website publisher or record newspaper in the county on a quarterly basis.
(2) If a judicial circuit publishes legal notices in a newspaper, a newspaper qualified under the terms of s. 50.011 shall be designated as the record newspaper for such publication by an order of the majority of the judges in the judicial circuit in which such county is located, and such order shall be filed and recorded with the clerk of the circuit court for such county. The designated record newspaper may be changed at the end of any fiscal year of the county by a majority vote of the judges of the judicial circuit of the county ordering such change 30 days prior to the end of the fiscal year, notice of which order shall be given to the previously designated record newspaper.
(3) The publicly accessible website publisher or publishers of any designated record newspapers receiving payment from this court docket fund shall publish, without additional charge, the fact of the filing of any civil case, suit, or action filed in such county in the circuit. Such publication shall be in accordance with a schedule agreed upon between the website publisher or record newspaper and the clerk of the court in such county.
(4) The publicly accessible website publisher or publishers of any designated record newspapers receiving revenues from the court docket fund established in subsection (1) shall, without charge, accept legal advertisements for the purpose of service of process by publication under s. 49.011(4), (10), and (11) when such publication is required of persons authorized to proceed as indigent persons under s. 57.081.
History.s. 46, ch. 2004-265; s. 8, ch. 2022-103.