Although it’s a common sight on overpasses, freeway ramps and even merge lanes, it’s illegal to place campaign signs on government property.
Utah area code 72-7-503 prohibits the placement of advertising in public places without permission, and permission is never granted to political campaigns. Moreover, according to Utah area code 72-5-708entities can be charged $500 to $1,500 per day depending on how long an unauthorized sign is left unattended.
Despite this, signs are rarely removed and campaigns are almost never fined – but a potential bill could change that.
A proposal from the state senator. mike mckel, R-Spanish Fork, would charge campaigns a fee if their signs are found on government property. He said taxpayers’ money is currently being used to remove illegal signs. The bill would instead charge campaigns for the cost.
The idea for the bill came to him while driving home from Salt Lake City.
“Between the merge lane and the freeway itself, I saw three 4-by-8-foot signs. It’s extremely dangerous,” McKell said.
As a lawyer, he has seen many accidents happen on the merging lanes. This already dangerous situation, he said, is made worse by large distracting signs.
Dave Hansen, campaign manager for former Sen. Orrin Hatch, also said campaign signs can be dangerous.
The issue is in the spotlight because a Utah County State Senate candidate put up a sign near an I-15 on-ramp. The placement distracted drivers entering the freeway and he said it could easily have caused an accident.
“Campaigns will push the boundaries until they can put signs and things like that,” Hansen said, “and as long as no one pushes them, they will continue to do so. So there has to be application. »
There is also the question of the effectiveness of campaign signs. They might be able to publicize the name of a newcomer, Hansen said, but as far as getting votes from people, they don’t seem to be doing much.
McKell plans to introduce the bill in the 2023 state legislative session.