The following is the text of a letter from Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to the Speaker of the Arizona House dated March 28, 2012″
March 28, 2012
The Honorable Andy Tobin
Speaker of the House
Arizona House of Representatives
1700 West Washington
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Re: House Bill 2757 (billboards; changing message; authorization)
Dear Speaker Tobin,
Today, I vetoed House Bill 2757. This bill allows electronic billboards capable of changing messages to be placed in public rights-of-way along state highways, and sets standards for display transition times.
The Legislature and outdoor advertising companies seek to make existing electronic billboards lawful under Arizona Revised Statutes. There is a legitimate need to update Arizona’s outdoor advertising laws in order to reduce confusion and accommodate advancements in technology and business development.
I am also mindful, however, of Arizona’s unique position as a national leader in astronomy and stargazing, thanks to our dark skies. Arizona is fortunate to be home to important astronomy installations across the state, including Lowell Observatory, in Flagstaff, Kitt Peak National Observatory, outside Tucson, and Mount Graham International Observatory, near Safford and managed by the University of Arizona. The astronomy industry has invested $1.2 billion in Arizona, represents more than 3,300 jobs and has an estimated economic impact of $250 million each year.
I simply refuse to place all of this in jeopardy.
I am confident a balance can be achieved that benefits both industries. For this reason, I have vetoed House Bill 2757 with the assurance that the sponsor will complete the work necessary to draft legislation that allows outdoor advertising companies to remain viable while identifying standards – governing aspects such as illumination, timing and buffer areas – in order to protect the astronomy community. The Arizona Department of Transportation will play a key role in these standards, filling the gap where county and city ordinances may be silent. To this end, I have tasked Director John Halikowski with updating antiquated rules related to outdoor advertising.
This is a valuable opportunity in which the State of Arizona can both preserve its astronomy industry and update state law to accommodate new technology. I ask that members of both communities – astronomy and outdoor advertising work in good faith in order to reach a mutually-agreeable compromise that advances our state.
This session or next, I expect to receive legislation governing this issue that I can sign into law.
Janice K. Brewer