BREAKING: US Supreme Court Ruling is Good News for Sign Industry
US Supreme Court Rules Against City in Church Sign Case
“Far reaching decision will affect sign codes throughout the country.” ~ Jeff Aran, The Sign Lawyer
In Reed v. Town of Gilbert, the Good News Community Church was cited for exceeding the time limits for displaying temporary directional signs and failing to include an event date on the signs. Their website includes this friendly message, “On the south side of Elliot, Just west of Gilbert Road. Signs will direct you to the room where we meet.”
Reversing the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in a much anticipated decision, the US Supreme Court ruled June 17 that the city of Gilbert, AZ sign code was an unconstitutional restriction on speech. The court held, among many other points, that the code is an example of content-based discrimination, which “singles out specific subject matter for differential treatment, even if it does not target viewpoints within that subject matter.” The court also ruled that a code which is content-based on its face is nonetheless subject to “strict scrutiny” analysis, regardless of the government’s motive, content-neutral justification, or lack of disagreement with the ideas contained in the regulated speech.
As a result, sign codes which include provisions favoring certain messages based on who is “speaking” will be subject to constitutional attack. CSA will provide a full analysis shortly.
Complete decision: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/13-502_9olb.pdf
To review the Signage Foundation assessment by Professor Alan Weinstein, “Drafting and Enforcing Sign Codes after Reed v Town of Gilbert,” click here — http://www.thesignagefoundation.org/Portals/0/Reed_Guidance_Weinstein.pdf
Magnetic Ballast Phase Out Imminent
Manufacturing of magnetic-type ballasts for fluorescent signs will be phased out on November 14, 2014.
This is the effective date previously established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to implement its new metric for efficacy testing applicable to these products. As of November 14, 2014 all High Output Ferromagnetic Sign Ballast will no longer be produced by any ballast manufacturers. DOE had previously investigated the sign ballast product category and found that very few sign ballasts do not have the capability to operate 8-foot HO lamps either in single- or multiple-lamp combinations. Thus, the only ballasts not covered by the DOE rulemaking are those which cannot operate F96T12HO lamps in any combination. This phase-out is applicable to a majority of the commonly-used, fluorescent sign ballasts.
The rulemaking creates a new metric for measuring ballast efficiency and establishes a higher standard of efficiency that will impact many of today’s fluorescent T5, T8 and T12 ballasts.
The DOE rulemaking, however, does not prohibit sales or use of existing inventory of magnetic sign ballasts after the November compliance date and until inventories are depleted.
Progress on Bill for Tax Extenders
U.S. House of Representatives recently passed d H.R. 4457, the “America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2014”. This bill would make permanent Section 179 expensing at the levels that had expired at the end of 2013, i.e., a $500,000 expensing allowance and a $2,000,000 investment cap. Continue Reading
Federal Highway Study Confirms Digital Billboard Safety
The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration has released a landmark study declaring that digital billboards do not pose a safety risk to passing motorists. Within the sign industry, the results of this study come as no surprise. Numerous traffic studies and analyses performed in the last couple of decades have reached similar conclusions.