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Amending Billboard Beauty

If you're still wondering why Albuquerque doesn't rewrite billboard regulations, read this note about the Congressional shenanigans on behalf of the billboard lobby.  Lawyer (Bill Brinton) paraphrased e-mail received from another lawyer (Kevin Fry):

The outdoor advertising industry and its allies in Congress obviously have no intention of taking no for an answer. The Bennett Amendment has been reborn in a somewhat modified version, and is included in the Senate's Energy and Water Appropriation bill, which was approved by the full Appropriations Committee yesterday (June 29).

The provision originated in the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, whose members include Sens. Bennett and Reid. ...

You may be asking what billboards have to do with energy or water.  The answer is nothing.  This appropriations bill became a convenient place to bury a legislative amendment to the Highway Beautification Act.

In spite of these differences between this version and the original Bennett Amendment, much remains the same:

1. Again, it does not appear that any stakeholder other than the billboard industry was invited to participate in the legislative process. No hearings were held. No meetings were arranged. It does not appear that any input was sought from anyone other than the industry.

2. Again, the committee of jurisdiction [the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee] was bypassed and the provision was quietly slipped into an entirely nongermane appropriations bill.

3. This provision, in spite of the changes, remains a direct assault on the core of the Highway Beautification Act and permanently weakens its enforcement and ignores its intent. ...


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