• Top Take-Aways from Billboard Regulators’ Conference

    INDIANAPOLIS – Billboard regulators want more information on benefits of relocating signs and also learned how to measure light from digital billboards during their annual meeting.

    Regulators convened in Indianapolis April 30-May 4 under the auspices of the National Alliance of State Highway Beautification Agencies (NAHBA).

    State officials are seeking federal funds to research time and money savings from relocating billboards in lieu of condemnation.

    On May 1, regulators saw a new video produced by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) that explains how to measure light from digital billboards.  That video is shown below.



    Brooks Glasnapp of Iowa Department of Transportation said: “exactly what we wanted; a step-by-step tutorial . . . Excellent presentation and good follow-up discussion.

    A growing number of state and local jurisdictions have adopted the industry’s lighting standard for digital billboards, 0.3 foot candles above surrounding light conditions (click here for industry standard).

    Meanwhile, states are fighting to preserve billboard regulations facing constitutional challenges.  Courts in Texas and Tennessee have invalidated billboard controls as unconstitutional restraint of free speech. Both states are pursuing appeals, to the Texas Supreme Court and the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Tennessee.

    In an uncommon alignment, the billboard industry, states, and Scenic America agree that regulation of billboards is preferable to no regulation, or chaos.

    At the regulators’ conference, Scenic America was represented by attorney Bill Brinton of Jacksonville, FL, who spoke via a pre-taped video.  Longtime OAAA counsel Eric Rubin spoke on behalf of the industry.

    Constitutional challenges to billboard controls are driven by a 2015 US Supreme Court ruling that said sign regulation should not be based on content (Reed v Town of Gilbert, AZ).

    Since the Reed ruling two years ago, some courts have upheld sign regulation.  It will take years to resolve free speech issues raised by Reed, predict attorneys for stakeholders.

    Insider will continue to report the latest developments on fallout from the Reed case.



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