The future of billboards is under debate at the state capitol.
Some Missourians say billboards are vital in attracting tourism dollars.
But not all Missourians agree.
A bill in front of Missouri's senate transportation committee would increase billboards along Missouri highways.
State Senator Danny Staples says billboards give travelers a sense of location.
The bill would allow cities and counties to regualte their own billboard use. This bill would make the advertising along roadsides regulated according to individual community policy.
Proponent say each community attracts tourism in different ways, but all ways are important, including billboard advertising.
But, opponents say there is already too much roadside clutter and that billboards are distracters for highway drivers.
Environmental lobbyist of Scenic Missouri Inc., Karl Kruse says he believes adding more billboards is a fatal mistake.
Other opponents says billboards ruin scenic Missouri.
Tim Fischesser, executive director of a lobby group for cities and townships in St. Louis county, states his problem with billboard advertisements.
Despite the new bill that would encourage more advertising, opponents like Fischesser are developing a list of more restrictions on billboards currently allowed along Missouri roads.
One idea for regulating the number of billboards along the roadside is a license fee...a flat fee or a percentage of profit fee paid to billboard companies by businesses that use outdoor advertising.
Karl Kruse of the opposition says he believes these options are fairer to individual business revenues as well as a way of keeping track of the number of billboards in Missouri as not to overcrowd road side land.
Chris Hayday, a member of the enviromental group, Sierra Club, sums the controversy up best.
The next sign as to the future of Missouri billboards will come when Missouri's legislature decides whether to adopt the bill...increasing billboards you along Misouri roadsides.
Reporting form Jefferson City, I'm Sarah Coleman.
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