Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/11/2004 03:35 PM Senate STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
       CSHB 230(STA)-POLITICAL SIGNS ON PRIVATE PROPERTY                                                                    
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS  announced  CSHB   230(STA)  to  be  up  for                                                               
consideration  and  noted that  the  sponsor's  staff member  was                                                               
TODD  LARKIN, staff  to Representative  Jim  Holm, bill  sponsor,                                                               
reminded  members that  they  heard the  bill  previously so  his                                                               
recap would be very brief.                                                                                                      
The  state has  traditionally disallowed  political signs  within                                                               
660 feet  of the  edge of  rights-of-way, but  those restrictions                                                               
are a little  excessive and not necessary to  continue to qualify                                                               
for federal highway funds.                                                                                                      
"HB 230 seeks to give free  speech rights back to property owners                                                               
within the 660-foot margin, but outside of DOT rights-of-way."                                                                  
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS noted  that the  committee passed  an amended                                                               
version  of amendment  1 at  the previous  meeting. He  asked for                                                               
verification that you couldn't put  signs in the rights-of-way on                                                               
private property.                                                                                                               
MR. LARKIN clarified that the  original statute covers rights-of-                                                               
way and there  was some question regarding  whether easements and                                                               
rights-of-way  were technically  not the  same thing.  Because of                                                               
that  the committee  adopted  an amendment  in  the last  hearing                                                               
specifically  saying  that  signs  cannot  be  placed  in  a  DOT                                                               
CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked him to explain proposed amendment 2.                                                                   
MR. LARKIN explained  that the second amendment is  the result of                                                               
conversations  with  the  federal highways  administration.  They                                                               
would like intent language included in  the bill to make it clear                                                               
that the Legislature  does not intend for the  political signs to                                                               
"pose an opportunity for indirect commercial advertising."                                                                      
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS summarized that  the purpose is to  make sure                                                               
federal highway funds aren't jeopardized.                                                                                       
MR. LARKIN replied there is no  threat to federal funds, but this                                                               
increases the comfort level.                                                                                                    
SENATOR BERT  STEDMAN made a  motion to adopt amendment  2. There                                                               
being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                          
                      A M E N D M E N T 2                                                                                   
OFFERED IN THE SENATE                                                                                                           
     TO:  CSHB 230(STA)                                                                                                         
Page 1, following line 2:                                                                                                       
     Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                         
   "* Section  1.  The uncodified  law of the State  of Alaska is                                                             
amended by adding a new section to read:                                                                                        
     INTENT.  It is the intent of the Alaska State Legislature                                                                  
that political signs on private  property not pose an opportunity                                                               
for indirect commercial advertising."                                                                                           
Page 1, line 3:                                                                                                                 
     Delete "Section 1"                                                                                                       
     Insert "Sec. 2"                                                                                                          
Renumber the following bill section accordingly.                                                                                
JEFF STARK,  Department of  Law, participated  via teleconference                                                               
to  say that  he was  asked  to look  at  this on  behalf of  the                                                               
Department of Transportation and was available for questions.                                                                   
SENATOR GRETCHEN GUESS asked for his  opinion on the bill and how                                                               
it might impact any federal funds.                                                                                              
MR. STARK said  it shouldn't have any affect on  federal funds as                                                               
written. "Anytime  you get into  any sort of regulation  of signs                                                               
and  particularly  political  signs  we had  concerns  about  the                                                               
constitutionality of  the language. We  took a  look at it  and I                                                               
think our  feeling is that as  written it is probably  all right.                                                               
Once you  get into constitutional  issues, you never  really know                                                               
what the  answer is until  a judge takes a  look at it  and tells                                                               
you what the answer is."                                                                                                        
SENATOR  GUESS asked  if  he understood  that  the Department  of                                                               
Transportation would be the enforcing entity.                                                                                   
MR.  STARK replied,  "Absolutely,  they enforce  the statutes  as                                                               
written now and this is simply an amendment to that statute."                                                                   
SENATOR  STEDMAN made  a motion  to move  SCS CSHB  230(STA) from                                                               
committee  with the  attached zero  fiscal note.  There being  no                                                               
objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                                   

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