House Bill 645, also known as the “billboards bill,” has now passed both the House and the Senate, and is up for a concurrence vote in the House next week.
Section 4 of the bill allows billboards with a Department of Transportation permit to be converted to digital structures at a height of 50 feet or higher, overriding any local ordinances.
Additionally, trees on a public right of way that block the view of the billboard structure can be cleared with landowner permission, commandeering and nullifying local tree protections. This provision is estimated to allow approximately 5,000 billboards in the state to be converted to digital structures and raised in height, presenting a large statewide impact.
This bill not only allows for more clearing of vegetation along our highways and destruction of our scenic landscapes, but also impedes local control by replacing community standards with a blanket statewide provision.
Another consequence of the bill could be driver endangerment, given the distracting nature of digital and electrified billboards.
We encourage legislators to vote NO on House Bill 645 to safeguard the natural environment, local decisionmaking authority, and driver safety in our state.
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