4 Questions for OAAA’s Ken Klein

Ken Klein (right) hiking with Congressman Don Beyer, D-VA

Ken Klein is EVP Government Affairs for the OAAA.  Insider interviewed Klein last week about political issues impacting out of home.

Digital billboards have been a huge help to public officials combatting severe weather this year.  Comments? 

After Harvey, the FEMA representative responsible for Texas described the billboard industry’s response as outstanding.  Three quick points come to mind:

  • Emergency messaging showcases the speed of digital billboards
  • Government uses billboards on behalf of safety
  • Like other media, billboards are an important platform for non-commercial speech

If you’re looking for a good summary, access a billboard case study posted on FEMA’s website.

What have been some of the biggest legal and regulatory wins for out of home during the past year?

Courts ruled against Scenic America’s attack on digital billboards and, in a separate case, San Francisco’s mandated warning label on soda ads.

Meanwhile, nearly all states with digital billboards have taken steps to accept and to regulate this new technology.  Montana is the latest state to do so (2016).  A growing number of state and local governments are adopting the industry’s lighting standard for digital billboards, to adjust brightness to the surrounding light level.

What are the biggest legal and regulatory issues facing the industry during the next year?

The courts are sorting out the impact from the 2015 Supreme Court ruling in Reed v. Town of Gilbert.  The Supreme Court said sign regulation should not be based on content.  The court did not say do away with all billboard regulation for the sake of free speech.

In two states, Texas and Tennessee, the Reed case has been used to challenge billboard-control laws on constitutional grounds.  The Tennessee case is headed to a federal appeals court.  Overall, the industry’s goal is to preserve just compensation for billboards removed by government, a protection which is written into federal and state law.

Any updates on the OSHA fall rule?

Thanks to Insider for extensive coverage.  Click here for expert analysis .  On November 29, Jim Poage of Formetco, Chuck Wigger of Lamar, and Chris Zukin of Meadow Outdoor will lead a no-cost webinar on compliance.  Click here to register.

What do you do in your spare time?

I like to smoke meat.  Here’s smoked bacon-stuffed venison (the venison was supplied by OAAA’s Nicole Randall):

Smoker:  Lang BBQ Smoker (from Georgia)

Wood:  Cherrywood (supplied by OAAA’s Marci Werlinich)

 

 


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