Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation authored by Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley) to tighten mobile billboard restrictions and strengthen the City of Los Angeles’ enforcement of its local ban.
“People want these dangerous and ugly signs gone,” said Blumenfield. “By signing this bill, the governor will help Los Angeles shut down the remaining mobile billboard operators who distort the law and tie up the city with frivolous lawsuits. People are tired of this game and this bill puts the city on top.”
Assembly Bill (AB) 2291 strengthens state law by clarifying what forms of vehicular advertising are and are not within the scope of local control to regulate. The bill’s approach refines a law authored by Blumenfield last year that included an exemption allowing small businesses – such as realtors, plumbers, and florists – to advertise on their vehicles without fear of consequence under any local ordinance. In order for the exemption to apply, advertising signs must be “permanently affixed.” Subsequently, mobile billboard operators began bolting their signs to the side of vehicles, distorting the intent of the exemption by claiming their signs are “permanently affixed” and therefore not subject to regulation.
AB 2291 codifies the conditions that must be met for the exemption to apply. The conditions include that advertising must be painted on the vehicle, applied as a decal, or placed on the body of the vehicle in a location designed by a licensed vehicle manufacturer consistent with safety standards for the purpose of containing an advertising sign.
“Their arguments have no merit but cost money to fight in court,” added Blumenfield. “These legal games waste resources the community needs to devote elsewhere.”
In his support letter for AB 2291 Carmen Trutanich, city attorney of Los Angeles, stated: “Mobile billboard owners have rebuilt their signs in an effort to evade regulation. Many of these new signs have been hastily affixed to vehicles which would cause serious injury in an accident. By defining ‘permanently affixed,’ state law will enable our cities to better address this public safety risk.”
But Agoura Hills resident Bruce Boyer, who uses trailers to advertise his Reseda-based burglary alarm company as well as other products and political causes, called the new bill unconstitutional, according to a report in The Acorn.
“It is another violation of our free speech,” Boyer told the newspaper.
According to a report, Boyer filed a lawsuit in federal court last year in an effort to overturn mobile sign ordinances in Los Angeles, Santa Clarita, Rancho Cucamonga and Loma Linda.
“Even though the lawsuit only names four cities, Agoura, Calabasas and Westlake Village will also be affected by the suit,” Boyer told The Acorn.
AB 2291 passed the State Legislature with a 74-0 Assembly vote and a 38-0 Senate vote. Further information is available at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov.
Much of this information was obtained from a news release from Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield