Billboard restrictions refused by Louisiana House committee

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Lawmakers have rejected efforts to restrict new highway billboards in Louisiana.

The House transportation committee voted 14-3 Tuesday against the measure after a three-hour hearing.

Rep. Jack McFarland, a Winnfield Republican, sought to put a moratorium on new billboards across the state. The state’s trucking industry backed the proposal. Supporters said the signs can be distractions for truckers and other motorists, causing accidents.

But the proposal faced heavy opposition from Baton Rouge-based Lamar Advertising Company, one of the nation’s largest outdoor advertising firms.

The company called the measure “anti-business,” suggesting it was being wedged into a fight between the trucking industry and trial lawyers over anti-trucker advertising.

Similar legislation is pending in the Senate, though it’s unclear if Tuesday’s vote will stall that measure.

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