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Michigan governor enacts legislation to curb billboards

| Friday, December 22, 2006

Gov. Jennifer Granholm has signed legislation into law that prohibits new billboard permits in Michigan. It also creates new penalties for billboard permit owners who fail to properly maintain their existing billboard sites.

“Michigan is blessed with beautiful scenery,” Granholm said in a written statement. “This legislation will ensure we don’t lose that beauty in a mountain of roadside advertisements.”

The bill package – SB567 and SB568 – prohibits new billboard permits after Jan. 1, 2007.

A fiscal analysis of the legislation said about 14,500 permits for billboards along highways have been issued in the state. About 270 new permits are issued each year.

At least four states – Alaska, Hawaii, Maine and Vermont – already prohibit billboards from being erected.

The new laws in Michigan prohibit billboard companies from getting permits for new signs unless they gave up the permits for signs they already own. Companies also will be allowed to take out vegetation that clutters the public’s view of their signs, rather than waiting for the state to do it.

Companies also will be allowed to move a current billboard from one location to another.

The increase in fees associated with the billboards is expected to generate $900,000. The additional revenue will allow more transportation funds to be used for roads.

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