US Supreme Court to hear case involving Austin’s ordinance on billboards

Austin

In this Nov. 5, 2020 file photo, The Supreme Court is seen in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A case involving the City of Austin will be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court during the next term, starting October 2021.

The City of Austin, Texas v. Reagan National Advertising of Texas Inc. will take a look at the City’s ordinance regarding billboards.

Austin’s local ordinance allows businesses to use digital billboards on-premises, but digital off-premises signs are not permitted.

Reagan National Advertising of Texas Inc. applied for permits to digitize 84 off-premises billboards and sued the City when the permits were denied, according to the Supreme Court docket.

The Supreme Court will answer the question of whether Austin’s distinction between on and off-premises signs is unconstitutional.

A spokesperson for the City told KXAN it believes Austin’s ordinances allow “ample room for free speech in advertising.”

“The City welcomes the United States Supreme Court’s action taking up review of the constitutionality of our local ordinance regulating billboards. Cities all across the country, including Austin, must grapple with balancing the public policy needs of ensuring traffic safety and protecting local aesthetic values, while also allowing ample room for free speech in advertising. We believe our ordinances do that and are pleased that the Court now has given us an opportunity to explain why what we’ve done achieves the correct balance.”

City of Austin spokesperson

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