Public Notices Month observed in South Dakota

South Dakotans appreciate government public notices published in their local newspaper and statewide surveys consistently show that they do read them.
The latest statewide survey conducted a year ago found that almost half of all South Dakotan adults (48.7 percent) read public notices such as school board minutes and zoning notices in their local newspaper either frequently or sometimes.
The survey was commissioned by South Dakota Newspaper Association and the results mirror statewide surveys conducted by SDNA for the past 20 years.
This October marks the third consecutive year that Public Notices Month is being observed in South Dakota.  It is an opportunity to highlight the role that public notices have in the everyday lives of citizens.
“Public notices published in the local newspaper matter,” SDNA General Manager David Bordewyk said. “Often we hear special interest lobbying groups who oppose publication of public notices in newspapers say that no one reads them. Well, these survey results blow that notion out of the water and Public Notices Month is a good time to bring attention to the support that public notices have among citizens in South Dakota.”
SDNA has commissioned six statewide surveys on public notices going back 20 years, asking essentially the same question:  “How often do you or other members of your household read legal or public notices such as school board or city council minutes in the newspaper?”
Responses to that question have hovered around 50 percent of those who read them at least frequently or sometimes in all six surveys.
Public notices inform citizens about the business of government. Public notices are required by law at all levels of government.
Typically, public notices are published in a local newspaper designated by a government entity as the official publication of record. For example, every municipality, county and public school district in South Dakota is required to have an official newspaper for publication of its required notices and meeting minutes.
The origins of public notices in the United States go back to the country’s earliest days when the proceedings of the First Congress in 1789 were ordered to be published in at least three publicly available newspapers.
In South Dakota, there are hundreds of public notices required by law. They include everything from the published minutes of the local school board or city council to the advertisement of bids for the repair of a state highway.
“Public notices provide transparency and help build confidence in the work of government. Public notices help keep citizens informed and involved,” Bordewyk said.
Public Notices Month is being highlighted with a “VIP” theme. Public notices published in the local newspaper are verifiable, independent and permanent, all traits that are important to protecting the integrity of public notices.

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