WA lawmakers to reconsider digital billboards on state highways

digital billboardLegislation that would allow digital billboards along Washington state highways is making the rounds again in Olympia.

Both the House and Senate are considering changes to state law, and each body’s transportation committee will take up the matter Tuesday.

Currently, electronic signs aren’t allowed along state highways. The legislation maintains existing limits on signs, including keeping them in industrial and commercial areas. Digital signs also couldn’t have flashing or moving lights, as the message would have to be static.

The bills this year are generally the same as those proposed for the past two years, applying to the state highway system only, not to areas along interstates. They also don’t force municipalities to allow them.

Should a company want to build a digital billboard on a state highway within an incorporated area, that jurisdiction’s approval would be needed before the state would issue a permit.

Opponents argue billboards, particularly digital signs, are visual blight.  Supporters argue the signs expand public networks for emergency messages like Amber Alerts.

In 2011, the Senate approved the measure, but it died in the House. (Seattle Times)

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