• TN Sign Law Rewrite Advances in House and Senate

    OAAA’s Kerry Yoakum testifying before Tennessee House Transportation Committee.

    The Tennessee Senate Transportation Safety Committee and House Transportation Committee approved legislation, including out of home industry amendments, to fix Tennessee’s sign law.  Senate Bill 2188  and HB 2255  rewrite the state’s sign law by redefining the term “off-premises device” as “a billboard receiving compensation from any message”.  The change will make Tennessee’s law content-neutral and will reinstate the sign laws which were invalidated by Thomas vs Bright.

    The OAAA’s Kerry Yoakum and Holly Salmons Kirby of JosonPossKirby represented the out of home advertising industry  Yoakum testified in the Senate committee support of the amendment: “We support regulation. A just, reasonable regulation…The definition proposed in the amendment is modeled closely off Texas…and Oregon…If you don’t put the amendment on I would expect a court challenge…”

    Senate Committee Chair Becky Massey and House Committee Chair Dan Howell said that they will hold their bills in committee until some more matters can be worked out.  The biggest items under discussion are whether the $3,000/year fine for non-compliance in the bill is an effective deterrent as well as some vegetation provisions.

    Insider’s take: Nice to see that House and Senate committees approved a revision of sign rules.  The rules will allow Tennessee to avoid free speech challenges to the sign code by restricting regulations to signs with paid compensation.   Ways and Means committee and votes by each chamber are next.

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