Legislature(1993 - 1994)
02/15/1994 03:42 PM TRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
CHAIRMAN SHARP brings up SB 157 (PROHIBITED HIGHWAY ADVERTISING) as the only order of business before the committee today. The chairman calls the first witness. Number 024 DAVID SKIDMORE, Aide to Senator Frank, begins to brief the committee on the changes to SB 157. (Senator Frank arrives shortly and takes over the briefing.) Number 037 SENATOR FRANK says SB 157 will allow businesses to put up directional signs for tourists. State highway sign laws are more restrictive than federal law, and SB 157 would make more allowances for highway signs in state law than are currently there. Under federal law, signs are allowed in areas that are zoned commercial or industrial, but they are not allowed under state law. The committee had some legitimate concerns about a possible proliferation of signs under SB 157, so we tried to limit the focus of the bill. The limitations that were added to the proposed committee substitute restrict signs to within 50 miles of the business, and signs are limited in size to eight by twelve feet. The bill also puts in statute two programs that the Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT) currently has in policy so that those programs will continue in the future. Those programs are the Airspace Leasing Program, which allows businesses to lease space in right-of-ways between the business and the highway, and the Tourist Orientational Directional Signs (TODS) Program. TODS is a good program, but it is only available for rural areas. Number 091 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asks what is considered a rural area under the TODS program. Number 092 SENATOR FRANK thinks it is related to whether or not an area is within a mass transit designation, such as AMATS or FMATS. Mr. Skidmore confirms that definition. Number 112 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS ask Senator Frank if the problem addressed by SB 157 is an ongoing problem. Number 114 SENATOR FRANK replies it is an ongoing problem. One thing intended by the bill is to cause sign laws to be enforced and administered equally throughout the state. Number 125 CHAIRMAN SHARP notes that Jeff Ottesen of DOT is available on teleconference to answer any questions. Number 128 SENATOR KERTTULA asks why SB 157 does not address political signage. Number 141 SENATOR FRANK states he personally agrees with Senator Kerttula that if a person owns property, that person should be able to put up a sign of any type, with probably no exceptions. Senator Frank comments he thinks it is a matter of a right to free speech, not a right to free speech unless you're within 660 feet of a federally funded highway. Senator Frank would hope SB 157 wouldn't take on a different connotation and a lot of opposition if it were to be broad enough to allow political signage. Number 154 SENATOR KERTTULA states there probably is the right of private property if a sign is posted on private property. He is not sure the government doesn't run in to some severe problems if signs are posted on private property. Number 163 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asks Jeff Ottesen if he would like to testify. Number 167 JEFFREY OTTESEN, DOT, Chief of Rights-of-Way, states Senator Frank's description of SB 157 is very accurate. The bill relaxes state law and basically makes it parallel to the federal law. The bill would allow for signs in locations that federal law also allows signs. Those locations would primarily be in areas zoned commercial or industrial; or in areas of the state where there is no zoning, signs would be allowed in areas that have the characteristic of commercial or industrial land use. Number 182 SENATOR KELLY asks Mr. Ottesen if DOT supports SB 157. Mr. Ottesen responds that DOT does support SB 157. Number 200 SENATOR KERTTULA comments on political signage and says he thinks it is a trespass of private property to make a person take down a sign on their property. Rights-of-ways are a concern of his, because private property is taken for that purpose. Number 212 SENATOR FRANK notes that SB 157 would only authorize signs in areas that are zoned commercial or industrial, or have commercial or industrial characteristics, if the area is unzoned. Number 215 SENATOR KELLY states the draft committee substitute is more acceptable to him than the original bill. His only concern is allowing signs 50 miles from the business. That distance seems a little far to him. Number 220 SENATOR KERTTULA comments that a 50 mile distance is only about a thirty-five minute drive. Number 223 SENATOR FRANK says the reason the maximum distance specified is 50 miles, is the travelling public generally wants to know of a location's existence approximately 50 miles ahead of the location. So allowing signs 50 miles from the business is for the convenience of the travelling public. Number 229 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS comments it makes sense to him to allow signs 50 miles from the business location. Number 234 SENATOR FRANK says there is a limitation of four total signs per business, in order to lessen the probability of a proliferation of signs. Number 236 CHAIRMAN SHARP asks if a committee member will move the adoption of the committee substitute for SB 157. Number 237 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS moves the adoption of CSSB 157(TRA). Number 239 CHAIRMAN SHARP, hearing no objections, notes that CSSB 157(TRA) has been adopted in lieu of the original bill. Number 242 SENATOR KELLY comments he can see signage abuses and sign wars between businesses coming as a result of SB 157. Number 248 SENATOR KERTTULA makes a motion to move CSSB 157(TRA) from the Senate Transportation Committee with individual recommendations. Number 250 CHAIRMAN SHARP, hearing no objection, orders CSSB 157(TRA) released from committee with individual recommendations.