Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Senate Strips Anti-Billboard Plan from Bill

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Senate Strips Anti-Billboard Plan from Bill

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Senate on Wednesday stripped an anti-billboard plan from a pending highway bill. "What is involved here is the right of a legitimate business to do business and to own property," said U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev. "This bill threatens to put out of business a legitimate industry." The 60-39 vote on Reid's amendment to kill the plan came as the Senate continued work on a five-year, $105 billion surface transportation authoriza- tion bill. Reid contended the proposal violated the Constitution, would destroy the billboard industry and lead to the loss of thousands of jobs. He and other senators said a provision to speed the removal of roadside billboards by permitting states to com- pensate their owners over a period of years didn't constitute full compensation for confiscated property as called for by the Fifth Amendment. "We, in effect, are taking people's property without just compensation," Reid said. But U.S. Sen. John Chafee, R-R.I., principal sponsor of the anti-billboard measure, said it was "nonsense to suggest" the plan would end the billboard industry. Hundreds of thousands of billboards would remain after non-conforming signs were removed, he said. …
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