In the past few weeks, our reporters have written about the 300 new laws that took affect in January, and the penalties that you will face if you do not follow them. We also wrote about the new law that took affect January 15th for buying cold medicine. You really do not realize the impact until you run out to the pharmacy just before closing to get your little girl some sore throat medicine only to realize it requires your driver's license. Not that this isn't a good law — it is. As we reported, it has slowed down the availability for meth manufacturers to get the drug, but you do not realize the affect of this law on your own life until you feel the impact.

Friday, our managing editor John Curtis, ran the coverage of the local school board meeting. A couple of months ago we had an issue with Shelbyville Schools legal notice, (the Annual Financial Report) required by the State of Illinois to be published in a legal newspaper in the county. But, it was published inappropriately, in a newspaper not of legal record, in Moultrie County.

What would have been the impact? This could have cost the school district it's funding for the next year, if it was not republished in a “legal newspaper” in the county, by the deadline set by the Regional Superintendent’s Office.

In an attempt to help our school district comply by the deadline, we were met with much resistance.

The Shelbyville Daily Union has followed these statues of the State of Illinois for years. As confirmed by the superintendent of the Shelbyville School district, it was done out of concern for cost. Evidently, the statutes set by the State of Illinois to publish (Illinois Compiled Statutes Chapter 715) were not considered.

These statutes clearly state that a legal notice must be printed in a newspaper published in the city, town or county, and has been in publication for at least 52 consecutive weeks. The reason for this statue is obvious.

The General Assembly wants public notices published in newspapers that have been in existence, and are looked to by their communities as the source of local news. The requirement precludes someone from opening a storefront and declaring themselves as a newspaper, without demonstrating that it has had at least a year of support from their community.

The phrase “published in” refers to one place. A newspaper can only have one place of publication. It does not matter where it is printed or who owns the company. It is decided by where it is first made available to the public. A newspaper may be circulated in many places, but for the purpose of legal notices, it has one and only one place of publication.

The impact of placing a legal notice in the wrong place can be tremendous. A school bond referendum in El Paso, Illinois, was set aside because of a faulty publication.

One of my greatest concerns in this matter, aside from the loss of funding to our school, was the fact that the appearance of a legal publication published inappropriately would mislead other tax-funded bodies in the filing of their public notices required by law to make meetings and other transactions legal.

Behind every law or statue, there lies a valid reason. The hassles of buying sore throat medicine we must tolerate in order to stop illegal drug use.

Publishing a school's annual report in the local paper is a must to keep the community aware of the financial needs of our school and to keep them informed of the schools activities, and to get the broadest coverage possible to the citizens paying taxes in the county that supports that school.

In response to Mr. Verdun's comment, the issue may be mute, due to the fact it will be discussed in Springfield in the spring session. I am sure the lawmakers we have elected will make the right decision, whether to publish the entire Annual Financial Report of the school districts or just a notice that they are available. Either way, the Shelbyville Daily Union will continue to do its job for the Community we serve. We will follow the laws and Statues of the State of Illinois, assisting you and keeping you informed as your first source for “local” news.

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