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ISA Signals | July 2012

In this Issue
Planners Learn About Signs in the Sunshine State

Rapid Response 
Finding Common Ground to Alaska
Seeing the Light in Arlington?
Emergency Trip to Utah

Heard on the Hill
Federal Official Tours Sign Company
Proposed Changes to Federal ADA Guidelines
Congress Seeks ISA's Input
Kill the "Death Tax"

Education and Outreach
ISA Working with Affiliated Sign Associations
Information for Sign Code Officials

A Look Ahead
EPA Training Available
Web Videos to Help Sign Companies

Planners Learn About Signs in the Sunshine State – Dozens of local officials were educated by the sign industry in Orlando, Fla., on May 18 at yet another beneficial Planning for Sign Code Success event. ISA, the Southern States Sign Association and The Signage Foundation, Inc., joined together to teach 39 planners from over 20 Florida jurisdictions the latest in sign code developments and other key issues. 

Not only were planners able to earn six continuing education credits and learn how signs are constructed, how signs impact businesses and communities, how to effectively treat EMCs and how to draft reasonable and enforceable sign codes, they also got to hear firsthand about an ongoing sign code development in Clearwater from a local official who’s involved in the process. ISA and SSSA staff have been busy following up with attendees to help them improve their community’s sign codes.

Three more Planning for Sign Code Success events are scheduled for the remainder of 2012, including in Indianapolis (July 26), San Antonio (August 3) and Orange County (September 14). Since 2011, these educational outreaches for sign code officials have taken place in Seattle, Phoenix, Dallas and Albany. If you think local officials in your area would find an event like Planning for Sign Code Success to be useful, please contact [email protected]
.



Rapid Response
Finding Common Ground to Alaska – On June 5, ISA’s James Carpentier traveled to Alaska to help the Wasilla Sign Code Task Force Group draft beneficial and effective sign code language. Carpentier's presentation to the group provided information on the economic benefits of electronic message centers (EMCs) and methods to treat them effectively. The presentation resulted in an excellent discussion in regard to the current status of EMCs in Wasilla and the regulatory options that are available to enhance and support local businesses.
 
Earlier this year the City of Wasilla commenced the process to update their sign code. Carpentier was chosen by the city to serve on the Sign Code Task Force Group along with local business owners, realtors and a consultant. The Sign Code Focus Group will have several additional meetings which are slated to be completed in late July, and their recommendations will be sent to the Planning Commission in August. For more information, please contact [email protected].

Seeing the Light in Arlington?
  After dozens of meetings and sixteen months of working on revising their sign code, Arlington County is close to finalizing its new ordinance. ISA along with ISA member companies have been involved in the process since the very beginning, and have been successful in getting positive language regarding nonconforming signs into the final version. Arlington County also considered restrictive new lighting standards for signs, which ISA opposed. ISA’s Kenny Peskin has provided Arlington County officials with extensive information and advice throughout the process, which will hopefully result in a beneficial sign code for local businesses and the community. For more information, please contact [email protected].

Emergency Trip to Utah
 – With a rash of proposed moratoriums on digital signs sweeping across Utah, ISA's James Carpentier joined affiliated association staff and sign companies in June to educate local officials on how to effectively treat EMCs. Many jurisdictions in Utah are currently considering draconian restrictions on digital electronic signs, including moratoriums and bans. In order to combat these efforts and communicate the economic value of these kinds of signs to local officials, ISA's James Carpentier, the Utah Sign Association's Patti King, and representatives from YESCO took part in a two-day educational barnstorming tour of the state. 

On June 21, 48 local officials from 30 Utah jurisdictions came to YESCO's facilities in Salt Lake and earned certification maintenance credits for participating in ISA's Finding Common Ground presentation. Later, the sign team visited with local officials in Cottonwood Heights, Farmington and Salt Lake County to speak with them about how EMCs benefit businesses and communities. Many of these sign code officials were pleased to accept model sign code language, ISA's EMC Night-time Brightness Recommendations, and to learn the legal, technical and regulatory differences between on-premise and off-premise digital signs. And on June 22, the sign team met with the League of Utah Cities and Towns to stress the importance of signs for local economies.

Despite the progress made with this outreach, extensive follow-up and continued monitoring of the situation in Utah is necessary to ensure that the state's communities don't enact unreasonable and counter-productive EMC regulations. For more information, please contact [email protected].



Heard on the Hill


Federal Official Tours Sign Company – U.S. Representative Francisco Canseco (R-Texas) visited the Southwest Signs sign manufacturing facility in San Antonio, Texas, on May 25 to meet with his constituents, see how signs are made, and learn how signs help promote economic development and small businesses. At the end of his tour, the congressman spoke with Southwest Signs employees about key issues, including promoting economic growth, reducing taxes and how excessive government regulation inhibits the ability of sign companies to reach their potential. ISA is working with its members to coordinate events such as these, so if your sign company would like to host a tour by your congressman or senator, please contact [email protected].

Proposed Changes to Federal ADA Guidelines 
– 
The International Sign Association is focused on ensuring that the Federal ADA Guidelines support the best interests of the disabled community as well as ISA members and the sign industry. The International Code Council (ICC) & American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A117.1 primarily provide the content of the accessibility sections of the Federal Standards. The A117.1 Committee consists of a number of trade organizations such as ISA, design organizations, disability advocacy organizations, and other experts. ISA has proposed changes to the existing guidelines in the sections concerning character height, character spacing, Braille positioning, mounting height, and the International Symbol of Accessibility. Read ISA's proposals and send us your feedback before the next ANSI meeting on August 27, 2012. If you have questions, or would like to get involved with ISA's ADA Taskforce, please contact Sapna Budev at [email protected].

Congress Seeks ISA's Input 
– The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is currently examining how existing and proposed regulations negatively impact jobs and the economy. As a trade association whose members must comply with numerous regulations, ISA has been asked by the committee to help identify rules and standards that adversely affect business and job growth. ISA is already an active participant in several D.C.-based coalitions whose purpose it is to reduce costly red tape on small businesses. If your sign company finds any specific government regulations to be particularly burdensome, please contact [email protected].

Kill the "Death Tax"
 – If Congress fails to act before December 31, the current federal estate tax law will expire and revert back to pre-2001 levels. On May 31, ISA's Lori Anderson told the House Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access about how the estate tax adversely impacts many businesses in the on-premise sign industry and why ISA opposes increasing the rate of taxation from 35 percent to 55 percent and decreasing the exemption level from $5 million to $1 million. 

In a statement for the record to the subcommittee, Anderson noted that many ISA members are family-owned and operated sign companies, which have been passed on from generation to generation. Anderson also informed the subcommittee that many ISA members have had to set aside cash or sell assets in order to comply with the estate tax, and that most are small enough so that they can't afford to hire specialized attorneys to help them figure out how to effectively deal with this financial mandate. In conclusion, Anderson urged Congress to maintain the current estate tax rate and exemption level. For more information, please contact [email protected].



Education and Outreach
ISA Working with Affiliated Sign Associations – As part of ISA’s continuing efforts to work with and help its affiliated associations, staff Kenny Peskin and Sapna Budev participated recently at the Northeast States Sign Association’s show in Baltimore, Md., and the Joint Spring Conference hosted by the Illinois and Wisconsin Sign Associations in Deleven, Wis. At the NSSA show, Peskin and Budev each presented a course to mid-Atlantic sign companies, including More Than Just Sign Codes, which taught attendees about the planning, environmental and transportation regulations that will affect future commercial development in Maryland; and Case Studies in Sustainability, which built upon the green practices showcased in ISA's first sustainability video. In Delevan, Peskin presented on the development of new sign regulations in Wisconsin and Illinois. Throughout 2012, ISA staff is traveling all over the United States, presenting more than a dozen seminars on sign code issues and other topics in partnership with local, state, and regional sign associations. For more information, please contact [email protected].

Information for Sign Code Officials
 – ISA recently distributed the inaugural issue of Vital Signs to thousands of local sign code officials across the country. This quarterly e-newsletter is tailored to fit the needs of planners, city council staff, building code officials and other local government personnel who are involved in the sign code process. Each issue will contain the latest in legal, technical and public policy information regarding on-premise signs, so that these local officials will be able to make informed decisions as they draft, debate and enforce sign ordinances. For more information, please contact [email protected].



A Look Ahead



EPA Training Available – On Thursday, July 19, ISA is offering a webinar on complying with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulations covering hazardous air pollutants, i.e. spray paints. Sign industry employees must be trained within 180 days from date of their hire! Visit ISA’s website for more information.

Web Videos to Help Sign Companies
 – ISA will soon be releasing brief online videos that will educate local officials and ISA member sign companies on key sign code issues. Using animation and easy-to-understand language, these grassroots web tools will be located at www.signs.org and will provide a valuable service as the sign industry works to promote reasonable sign codes. For more information, please contact [email protected].



Signals
is an ISA members' only e-newsletter to help you stay ahead of the sign code, legislative, regulatory, environmental and legal issues that affect your business.