n the commentary, “Electronic billboards are the signs of our times” (The Tribune, March 25), the authors failed to mention a question posed by one state senator during the final floor debate on SB61. That senator asked the sponsor: “Who are the stakeholders who are supporting this bill?” To which the sponsor replied: “That’s a good question. I’m not sure anyone is supporting the bill.”
This was a telling response that reflects the opinion of 80 percent of Utahns who oppose the proliferation of billboards in our communities. Most Utah cities ban new billboards. These bans are reactions by local governments to complex and one-sided state statutes that favor billboard companies over local sensibilities, and to their constituents who are fed up with outdoor advertising and its many negative impacts on the character of our communities.
One of the most distressing aspects of current billboard laws is their flagrant disregard for the will of the people. Lawmakers bend over backward to help billboard companies get what they want. Shouldn’t they instead be bending over backward to help cities and towns – and Utah citizens – get what they want? Utahns want an end to the special treatment our state gives to billboard companies, and they want common-sense laws aimed at reducing visual pollution from our beautiful communities and roadways.
Ralph Becker, Chair of Scenic Utah, and Kate Kopischke, Director of Scenic Utah