Decrying the legislation as anti-business, Baton Rouge-based Lamar Advertising Company is speaking out against lawmakers’ efforts to cap the number of billboards in Louisiana.
A resolution filed by Rep. McFarland, R-Jonesboro, not only calls for an increase of both billboard licensing fees and the space required between billboards but also asks for a ban on new billboards. Similar legislation filed by Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, looks to prohibit new billboard construction and keep the DOTD from issuing permits for work to improve the visibility of existing signs.
The regulations aim to promote safety and preserve the state’s “natural beauty,” according to McFarland’s resolution.
Lamar—headquartered in Baton Rouge for more than 100 years—says more than 3,500 local businesses advertise on Lamar billboards across the state, and should the restrictions pass, “each and everyone” would be negatively impacted.
“We consider it an assault on our Louisiana company and more importantly on the many Louisiana-owned businesses that work with us every day,” a company statement reads. “The effects of this proposed legislation are far-reaching and completely misguided.”
Lamar is fourth on Business Report’s 2018 listing of Louisiana’s top 20 public companies, with revenue of $1.5 billion in 2017, a 2.7% increase from the year prior.
Both pieces of legislation—HCR 4 and SB 211—have been provisionally referred to the Committee on Transportation, Highways and Public Works.