HB 4629 passed out of the House Transportation Committee this week. This bill was created in most part to deal with issues that were presented to MDOT from a federal audit done on the Highway Advertising Act. If these issues (definition for digital billboards, definition for non-conforming billboard, etc) are not address, the state will lose a portion of their federal transportation funding. This bill was introduced last session and because of the short time frame of lame duck, didn’t pass. This bill would allow a local unit of government to create a more stringent policy than that at the state level if they so choose to. We also asked that the word “operation” be added into what can be regulated by the local unit of government to ensure that digital billboards would be encompassed in that definition. Before passing committee, an amendment was also added on to change the spacing requirements for digital billboards from 1,500 feet to 1,750 feet and to make the “dwell time” 8 seconds instead of 6 seconds.
Because of the federal funding attached to the bill and the local control piece being enhanced, we are neutral on HB 4629.
Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development and land use issues. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-908-0305.