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Fallout over political OOH regulations

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has imposed a time limit on when political campaigns can be broadcast on billboards.

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The regulations prevent any political signage from being erected 90 days before the election campaign begins

According to Section 5405.3 of the State Outdoor Advertising Act, the placement of temporary political signs is exempt from normal advertising display regulations.

The condition of the law is that no temporary sign is to be placed earlier than 90 days before the scheduled election and must be removed ten days after the election.

The signage also must not be larger than 32sq ft and a Statement of Responsibility must be filed with the Department certifying who is responsible for the removal of the sign.

Another condition is that no temporary political signage can be placed within the right-of-way of any highway and must be visible within 660ft from the edge of the right-of-way of a classified “Landscaped freeway”.

The condition of the law is that no temporary sign is to be placed earlier than 90 days before the scheduled election and must be removed ten days after the election

It has been argued however that these restrictions are “unconstitutional” and questions have been raised over the impact they have on freedom of speech – included in the first amendment in the US Bill of Rights.

As a result, Norcal Outdoor Media, which plans to run a Trump 2020 sign before the 90-day window, has filed a federal lawsuit against Caltrans on the basis that limiting political speech to specific timeframes is “simply unacceptable”.

According to Billboard Insider, Norcal will rely on three landmark First Amendment cases, in one of which regarding the Texas Department of Transportation, the legislation was eventually revoked, and the provisions were deemed unconstitutional.

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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