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Lawmaker wants to ban campaign signs from Utah overpasses, ramps

Posted at 4:02 PM, Jun 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-20 18:13:53-04

SALT LAKE CITY  — A state lawmaker is threatening a bill that would ban campaign signs from places like freeway overpasses and highway on-and-off ramps.

Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, told FOX 13 News he had opened a bill file after driving through Utah County and seeing large campaign signs in medians. He said they create vehicle safety hazards.

"I've become more and more concerned. This campaign season, especially in Utah County, we have campaign signs all over the off-ramps and today what I saw were campaign signs literally in between I-15 and a merge lane which is extremely, extremely, extremely dangerous," he said.

Sen. McKell said he would like to prohibit campaign signs from government properties, which would include highways, roads and overpasses. Depending on where a political campaign sign is posted now, it may already be illegal if it impedes traffic.

The First Amendment protects political campaign signs, but there are carve-outs to allow for public safety and littering. Sen. McKell said his bill would not make it a criminal offense, but the state could charge a fee to political campaigns to have Utah Department of Transportation employees remove any offending signs.

The bill would be introduced in the 2023 legislative session, Sen. McKell said.