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985.01   Definitions.
985.02   Method of notification.
985.03   Qualifications of newspapers.
985.04   Official state newspaper.
985.05   Official municipal newspapers.
985.06   Official city newspaper.
985.065   Publication and printing; counties with population of 250,000 or more.
985.07   Classes and frequency of legal notices.
985.075   Substance of 2nd and 3rd insertions.
985.08   Fees for publishing.
985.09   Computation of time, Sundays, legal holidays.
985.10   Publication on Sunday.
985.11   Fees and work on Sunday.
985.12   Proof of publication.
985.13   Change of name or discontinuance of paper.
985.14   Refusal to publish.
985.15   Forfeiture for refusal to publish.
985.01 985.01 Definitions. As used in this chapter, unless the context requires otherwise:
985.01(1b) (1b)“Bona fide paid circulation” means the paid circulation of a newspaper that satisfies all of the following:
985.01(1b)(a) (a) The publisher of the newspaper sells 50 percent or more of the circulation of the newspaper.
985.01(1b)(b) (b) The publisher of the newspaper has actual subscribers at each publication of not less than 1,000 copies in 1st and 2nd class cities or 300 copies in 3rd and 4th class cities, villages, or towns.
985.01(1g) (1g)“Governing body" has the meaning given in s. 345.05 (1) (b) and includes a long-term care district board under s. 46.2895.
985.01(1m) (1m)“Insertion," when used to indicate the publication of a legal notice more than one time, means once each week for consecutive weeks, the last of which shall be at least one week before the act or event, unless otherwise specified by law.
985.01(2) (2)“Legal notice" means every notice required by law or by order of a court to be published in a newspaper or other publication, except notices required by private and local laws to be published in newspapers, and includes all of the following:
985.01(2)(a) (a) Every publication of laws, ordinances, resolutions, financial statements, budgets and proceedings intended to give notice in an area.
985.01(2)(b) (b) Every notice and certificate of election, facsimile ballot, referenda, notice of public hearing before a governmental body, and notice of meetings of private and public bodies required by law.
985.01(2)(c) (c) Every summons, order, citation, notice of sale or other notice that is intended to inform a person that the person may or shall do an act or exercise a right within a designated period or upon or by a designated date.
985.01(3) (3)“Municipality" has the meaning in s. 345.05 (1) (c) and includes a long-term care district under s. 46.2895.
985.01(3g) (3g)“News content” means written information and images, other than advertisements, that are printed in a publication.
985.01(3r) (3r)“Newspaper” means a publication that is published at regular intervals and at least once a week, containing, on average, 25 percent news content per issue, including reports of happenings of recent occurrence of a varied character, such as political, social, moral and religious subjects, designed to inform the general reader. “Newspaper” includes a daily newspaper published in a county having a population of 750,000 or more, devoted principally to business news and publishing of records, which has been designated by the courts of record of the county for publication of legal notices for a period of 6 months or more.
985.01(4) (4)“Proceedings," when published in newspapers, mean the substance of every official action taken by a local governing body at any meeting, regular or special.
985.01(5) (5)A newspaper is “published" at the place from which its mailing permit is issued, except that if the place where the newspaper has its major concentration of circulation has no primary post office, then at the place it shall designate as its place of publication in the affidavit required by s. 985.03 (1) (cm), but no newspaper shall have more than one place of publication during the same period of time.
985.01(6) (6)“Substance" is an intelligible abstract or synopsis of the essential elements of the official action taken by a local governing body, including the subject matter of a motion, the persons making and seconding the motion and the roll call vote on the motion, except that ordinances and resolutions published as required by law need not be republished in proceedings, but a reference to their subject matter shall be sufficient.
985.01(7) (7)“Wisconsin newspapers legal notices Internet site" means an Internet site maintained by Wisconsin newspapers for the purpose of providing and maintaining an electronic version of printed and published legal notices.
985.02 985.02 Method of notification.
985.02(1)(1)Except as otherwise provided by law, a legal notice shall be published in a newspaper likely to give notice in the area or to the person affected. Whenever the law requires publication in a newspaper published in a designated municipality or area and no newspaper that satisfies the requirements under s. 985.03 (1) (a) or (am) is published therein, publication shall be made in a newspaper likely to give notice.
985.02(2) (2)If the governing body of a municipality elects to post under s. 985.05 (1) it shall post in the following manner:
985.02(2)(a) (a) The notice must be posted in at least 3 public places likely to give notice to persons affected or must be posted in at least one public place likely to give notice to persons affected and placed electronically on an Internet site maintained by the municipality.
985.02(2)(b) (b) The notice posted before the act or event requiring notice shall be posted and, if applicable, placed electronically, no later than the time specified for the first newspaper publication.
985.02(2)(c) (c) The notice posted after the act or event requiring notice shall be posted and, if applicable, placed electronically, within one week after the act or event. Actions of governing bodies posted after the act or event shall be effective upon posting.
985.02(2)(d) (d) The affidavit of the officer or person posting the legal notice containing the time, place and manner of the posting is presumptive evidence of the facts stated therein.
985.02(3) (3)The newspaper that publishes a legal notice shall, in addition to newspaper publication, place an electronic copy of the legal notice at no additional charge on the Wisconsin newspapers legal notices Internet site.
985.02 History History: 2007 a. 20; 2011 a. 228; 2015 a. 79; 2017 a. 282.
985.02 Annotation A county with a population of less that 250,000 is not required to designate an official newspaper. A county is not required to seek bids for the publication of legal notices. Even if a county does not competitively bid the publication of its own proceedings as provided in sub. (3), it may print its own proceedings or post them on its web site. A county may not, in lieu of publication in a printed newspaper or posting on a physical bulletin board, post its legal notices on its official web site. OAG 2-08.
985.03 985.03 Qualifications of newspapers.
985.03(1)(a) (a) Except as provided in par. (am), no publisher of any newspaper in this state shall be awarded or be entitled to any compensation or fee for the publishing of any legal notice unless the newspaper has had a bona fide paid circulation and one of the following applies:
985.03(1)(a)1m. 1m. For at least 2 of the 5 years immediately before the date of the publication of the notice, the newspaper has been published regularly and continuously in the city, village, or town where published.
985.03(1)(a)2m. 2m. The newspaper is a successor to a newspaper described in subd. 1m. and the successor newspaper has resumed publication following succession within 30 days.
985.03(1)(a)3. 3. The newspaper has merged or consolidated with one or more newspapers and one of the newspapers subject to the consolidation or merger has been continuously published at regular intervals of at least once each week for at least 50 issues each year for at least one year prior to the first publication of the notice.
985.03(1)(am) (am) If there is not a newspaper in a city, village, or town that satisfies the requirements under par. (a), the publisher of a newspaper that satisfies all of the following may be awarded or be entitled to compensation or a fee for the publishing of a legal notice:
985.03(1)(am)1. 1. The newspaper is published regularly and continuously in the city, village, or town and publishing in the newspaper is likely to give notice in the area or to the affected person.
985.03(1)(am)2. 2. The newspaper is otherwise qualified under this section.
985.03(1)(b) (b) Suspension of publication resulting from the mobilization of troops being called to active duty with the armed forces, strike, lockout or damage, or destruction due to war, fire or act of God, shall not count as an interval in publication.
985.03(1)(bm) (bm) A period of disqualification not to exceed 2 years due only to the place of publication shall not count as an interval in publication.
2017-18 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2019 Wis. Act 18 and through all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders filed before and in effect on August 19, 2019. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after August 19, 2019, are designated by NOTES. (Published 8-19-19)