The state’s ban on outdoor advertising for alcohol is history, but the House of Delegates has passed legislation that will limit booze on billboards.
Virginia billboards advertise almost everything except alcohol, but that’s about to change. After Lamar Advertising challenged the state’s ban, Virginia officials agreed to a settlement allowing outdoor advertising for beer and liquor.
State lawmakers weren’t happy. Newport News Delegate Glenn Oder proposed a compromise.
"It was absolutely expedient upon us to find a way to stop this from happening in Virginia," Oder told News 7. "There was going to be advertising like we had never seen before, we got all that taken care of with just a limited exception now for billboards."
The measure approved by the House will allow billboards in commercial and industrial areas, but not in residential neighborhoods, or close to schools, churches or playgrounds.
"It seems that we have the potential to have the worst of ABC privatization without any of the benefits," said Rockbridge County Delegate Ben Cline, "so we needed to take action right away."
Montgomery County Delegate Jim Shuler agreed. "None of us want it to open up the state to being an advertising billboard to promote liquor sales, and this puts some restrictions on it," Shuler said.
The House amended an alcohol beverage control bill that Senator Emmett Hanger introduced after the Southern Inn caught fire in Lexington.
Hanger’s original bill allows the state ABC department to pro-rate license fees if a business is destroyed by an act of God.
Hanger said he supports the amendment and the compromise on alcohol advertising. "It appears that the compromise that’s been worked out in the substitute will address the individual concerns, so we don’t just open it up to anything goes," Hanger said.
The House approved the measure on a vote of 97 to nothing. It now heads back to the State Senate and will take effect as soon as the Governor signs the bill.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The House has passed legislation that expands the right of liquor companies to advertise on Virginia billboards.
On a 97-0 vote Wednesday, the House approved the measure to allow Jack Daniel, Jose Cuervo and other distilled spirits to appear on billboards in some places.
The bill stems from a lawsuit billboard company Lamar Advertising Co. filed last year challenging Virginia's outright outdoor advertising ban.
U.S. Supreme Court decisions the past 10 years have consistently struck down similar bans. The state settled the lawsuit in December, but legislators wanted to tighten the terms.
The House-passed bill allows liquor billboards in industrial and commercial areas, but not agricultural or residential ones.
It also bans them within 500 feet of schools, houses of worship or parks.