An Act To Amend the Maine Traveler Information Services Laws
Sec. 1. 23 MRSA §1903, sub-§2, as repealed and replaced by PL 1981, c. 318, §1, is amended to read:
Sec. 2. 23 MRSA §1903, sub-§15-A is enacted to read:
Sec. 3. 23 MRSA §1910, as amended by PL 2011, c. 344, §29, is further amended to read:
§ 1910. Types and arrangements of signs
Subject to this chapter, the commissioner shall regulate the size, shape, color, lighting, manner of display and lettering of official business directional signs. A symbol may be specified for each type of eligible service of or facility for inclusion upon official business directional signs.
Sec. 4. 23 MRSA §1913-A, as amended by PL 2013, c. 529, §8, is further amended to read:
§ 1913-A. Categorical signs
Sec. 5. 23 MRSA §1917-A, as enacted by PL 1989, c. 315, is repealed.
Sec. 6. 23 MRSA §1917-B is enacted to read:
§ 1917-B. Unlawful removal of temporary signs
A person who takes, defaces or disturbs a sign placed within the public right-of-way in accordance with section 1913-A, subsection 1, paragraph L commits a civil violation for which a fine of up to $250 may be adjudged. This section does not apply to a person authorized to remove signs placed within the public right-of-way in accordance with section 1913-A, subsection 1, paragraph L.
This bill is reported out by the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation pursuant to Joint Order 2016, S.P. 628. The intent of the bill is to address a recent United States Supreme Court decision, Reed v. Town of Gilbert, No. 13-502 (2015), relating to categorical signs within a public right-of-way. The committee has not taken a position on the substance of this bill and by reporting this bill out the committee is not suggesting and does not intend to suggest that it agrees or disagrees with any aspect of this bill. The committee is reporting the bill out for the sole purpose of turning the proposal into a printed bill that can be referred to the committee for an appropriate public hearing and subsequent processing in the normal course. The committee is taking this action to ensure clarity and transparency in the legislative review of the proposal.
The bill makes the following changes to the Maine traveler information services laws.
1. It clarifies the definition of "erect" to also mean display.
2. It adds a definition of "temporary sign" to mean a sign bearing a noncommercial message that has been placed within the public right-of-way for a limited period of time.
3. It corrects a typographical error in the provision relating to types and arrangements of signs.
4. It removes the following signs from the provisions relating to categorical signs within the public right-of-way: signs showing the place and time of service or meetings of religious and civic organizations; memorial signs or tablets; signs bearing political messages relating to an election, primary or referendum; signs erected by a producer that directs travelers to the location where farm and food products are grown, produced and sold; and signs erected for a farmers' market that are directional in nature. Instead, the bill creates a broader category of temporary signs within the public right-of-way in order to regulate signs within a public right-of-way in a content-neutral manner per the United States Supreme Court decision, Reed v. Town of Gilbert, No. 13-502 (2015). It provides that a temporary sign may be placed within the public right-of-way for a maximum of 6 weeks per calendar year during the time period from May 1st to November 15th. It provides that a temporary sign may not be placed within the public right-of-way within 200 feet of another temporary sign bearing the same or substantially the same message. It also provides that a temporary sign may not exceed 4 feet by 8 feet in size. Finally, it provides that a temporary sign must be labeled with the name and address of the individual, entity or organization that placed the sign within the public right-of-way and the designated time period the sign will be maintained within the public right-of-way.
5. It repeals the provision of law regarding categorical signs outside the public right-of-way. Instead, the bill provides that, except as provided by current law relating to on-premises signs, a sign may be erected outside the public right-of-way as long as it does not exceed 50 square feet in size.
6. It repeals the provision of law relating to unlawful removal of political signs. Instead, it provides that the unlawful removal of temporary signs from the public right-of-way is a civil violation for which a fine of up to $250 may be adjudged.