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ISA Signals | May 2012

In this Issue
The Planning Community and Sign Industry Learning Together

Rapid Response 
Hope Springs Eternal in Colorado Springs
Calvert County Code Conclave
Digital Signs in the Buckeye State
Help ISA to Help You!

Heard on the Hill
Businesses Now Need to Post Union Notices
Another Congressman Visits ISA Member Sign Company

Education and Outreach
What the Sign Industry Believes
UL Program Changes Reflect ISA Input
New ADA Standards Take Effect

Upcoming Events
Webinar on Model Sign Codes
ISA and Retailers

The Planning Community and Sign Industry Learning Together – ISA’s educational outreach to municipal planners has reached new levels of intensity and effectiveness. On March 15, ISA offered a webinar for planners and local officials on the regulatory treatment of electronic message centers. Finding Common Ground was hosted by ISA’s James Carpentier and co-presented by Ohio state APA chapter president Wendy Moeller and YESCO’s Mike Freeborg, and taught over 100 planners from 22 states how to properly and effectively regulate EMCs.
The next day ISA, the Mid South Sign Association and the Signage Foundation Inc., presented the day-long event Planning for Sign Code Success in Memphis, Tenn. Some 41 planners from 23 municipalities participated in the event, which covered topics such as sign construction and technologies, the impact of signs on economic development, and the legal issues related to drafting and enforcing sign codes. ISA began offering these events in conjunction with affiliated sign associations and SFI last year, when over 120 planners were educated in Seattle, Arizona and Dallas. In addition to Memphis, there will be Planning for Sign Code Success events in Orlando, Fla., San Antonio, Texas, Indianapolis, Ind., and Orange County, Calif. Planners who participate in these programs are able to earn six continuing education credits for their profession.
And from April 14-16, ISA staff exhibited at the American Planning Association national conference in Los Angeles, Calif., and met with APA leadership, rank-and-file planners, planning students and academics. There ISA staff personally answered sign code questions from planners, participated in several zoning and sign-related seminars, and provided attendees with the latest in technical and legal information regarding on-premise signs. Of particular interest to attendees was ISA's EMC Night-time Brightness Recommendations.
Through these planner events, ISA aims to educate local officials on the benefits of on-premise signs to businesses and communities, in order to promote the development of reasonable and beneficial sign codes across the country. For more information, please contact [email protected].

Rapid Response
Hope Springs Eternal in Colorado Springs – ISA, the Colorado Sign Association and local sign companies had positive input into changes to the local sign code in Colorado Springs, Colo., on March 13. New EMC provisions allow for a 10-second change rate, an allowable square footage of 50 percent for the digital part of ground signs, and illumination levels at night of up to 0.3 foot-candles (or 500 NITS). Testimony from ISA staff and other sign industry members influenced the City Council to include these provisions and to overturn negative recommendations from the local planning board. For more information, please contact [email protected].

Calvert County Code Conclave – ISA's Kenny Peskin represented the on-premise sign industry when the Calvert County, Md., Departments of Economic Development and Planning & Zoning recently asked for input on the county’s sign code regulations. Over 100 county residents, citizen groups and businesses participated in the public forum as it began the process of evaluating its current sign codes and any needed changes. Much of the input centered on new enforcement of the Maryland State Highway Administration’s policy on placement of signage along state routes. Peskin discussed both the Calvert County event and the impact of the MSHA policy during the Northeast State Sign Association’s Sign Expo on April 25 in Ellicott City, Md. For more information, please contact [email protected].

Digital Signs in the Buckeye State – In late March ISA received an email inquiry from a northeast Ohio county planning director asking about on-premise EMC brightness controls. The planner was very appreciative for ISA’s EMC Night-time Brightness Recommendations, as well as for answers to several specific technical questions. In addition to this email assistance, ISA's Kenny Peskin proactively scheduled a face-to-face meeting in early April with the county planning staff, as well as several zoning officials from cities and townships within the county. At the end of the in-person meeting, the officials recommended that ISA staff present its information at an upcoming meeting of an Ohio building officials association. For more information, please contact [email protected].

Help ISA to Help You! – ISA learned of the urgent situations in Colorado and Maryland through concerned and active ISA members. One of the benefits that ISA provides its members is our code-tracking and “rapid response” services to help sign companies and sign users across the country fight restrictive sign codes. This includes alerting members as to when localities are drafting or revising their sign codes, helping to organize opposition at public hearings, issuing concise and hard-hitting talking points, and even having ISA staff make appearances in communities and in front of local officials nationwide. Since January 2008 this service has helped hundreds of ISA members in dozens of states. However, ISA still needs your help. As the sign companies that fight these sign code battles every day, you are our “ears and eyes on the ground.” Please let us know when you hear of a locality that is drafting or revising their sign code. Call our Helpline at 1-866-WHY-SIGN (or 1-866-949-7446) or email [email protected] and we’ll help you in any way that we can!

Heard on the Hill

Businesses Now Need to Post Union Notices – As of April 30, businesses – including sign companies – must post notices in facilities regarding the formation of unions. The District of Columbia federal District Court ruled in March that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) can require about six million businesses to post this notice in their facilities regarding the formation of unions. ISA has joined a coalition of manufacturing trade associations in opposition to the proposed NLRB rule and this recent ruling. The National Association of Manufacturers, of which ISA is a member, is among the groups that have appealed the court ruling. At issue is the requirement that non-union shops post the notice informing employees of their rights to unionize. As written, employers that fail to post would be subject to charges of unfair labor practices. The District Court ruled that failure to post the notice wasn’t itself a violation of the law but could trigger an investigation into an employer’s labor practices. ISA believes the court's decision is incorrect and the NLRB lacks the authority to require the notice or impose any penalties, and will continue to be proactive in seeking further remedy. For more information, please contact [email protected].

Another Congressman Visits ISA Member Sign Company – On April 3, Congressman John Shimkus (R-IL) visited Watchfire Signs in Danville, Ill., to witness firsthand how the sign industry plays a role in America’s manufacturing sector. While there, Rep. Shimkus discussed local initiatives, such as the development of technical education and training programs to provide a stable and qualified workforce, as well as the need to enhance the image of careers in manufacturing as a key way to promote economic health on the local, state and national level. According to Watchfire’s Paul Kero, the congressman’s visit was a great opportunity to “show him the work we are doing here in the nation's heartland…using American labor and American know-how.” Kero also noted that elected officials can always “benefit from learning what we do — creating products that people want. We design them, specify and procure the right materials to make them durable. We assemble them using techniques and methods that are usually far beyond what most officials could ever imagine.” Last October, Congressman David Schweikert (R-AZ) toured YESCO’s Phoenix shop in a visit facilitated by ISA and learned how the company employs his constituents and how their signs help local businesses. ISA is working with congressional offices to set up more of these visits so that federal officials will remember the sign industry when they’re making decisions in Washington, DC. If you’d like to offer your facility for a congressional tour or would like more information, please contact [email protected].

Education and Outreach
What the Sign Industry Believes – The ISA Board of Directors recently approved two new industry position statements on Temporary Signs and Window Signs to help sign companies educate local officials on key regulatory issues. Later this year, these new position statements and any others that the ISA Board of Directors may approve in 2012 will be included in an updated version of ISA's position statement publication, Building Stronger Communities: Working Together to Create Reasonable Sign Codes. This publication currently consists of fourteen position statements on key sign code, legislative and regulatory issues that affect our industry and our products. The purpose of this publication is not only to provide sign companies with ISA's stance on these important issues, but also to arm sign professionals with another tangible grassroots tool that can be used to educate local officials as you work to get the signs that your customers need and deserve. If you have any questions about the publication or would like hard copies, or have any ideas for sign code-related issues on which ISA needs to take an official position, please contact [email protected].

UL Program Changes Reflect ISA Input – UL has announced several program changes that affect the sign industry, including a new effective date for transition to the Sign Certification Program. The program now will be effective October 2, coinciding with the effective date of the 15th edition of UL 48. The changes also affected the Manufacturer’s Technical Representative online training requirement. ISA and other sign industry professionals met with UL in late February/early March, after which UL agreed to continue to waive the fee for the first variation notice (VN) per company each year. UL also released the top reasons for variations, hoping this will educate sign shops on how to avoid VNs. For more information, please contact [email protected].

New ADA Standards Take Effect – Some 63 sign manufacturers, environmental graphic designers and architects participated in recent online ISA training on new ADA standards. The webinar, which was accredited by the American Institute of Architects, helped participants understand the new requirements, which took effect March 15. All signage in new or altered state and local government facilities, public accommodations and commercial facilities must now comply with the new standards or face monetary damages, civil penalties and injunctive relief. For more information, please contact [email protected].

Upcoming Events

Webinar on Model Sign Codes – On May 10, an ISA webinar detailing a number of recent model sign codes will be offered to help sign companies learn how to use them to educate local officials on how to draft reasonable and effective sign ordinances. For more information, please contact [email protected].

ISA and Retailers
– On June 22, ISA’s Rich Gottwald will speak at the annual “Retail Smarter” conference, an event put on by the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business Administration, which brings together a diverse group of retail and industry participants for two days of speakers, panels, roundtables and networking. ISA’s presentation will focus on the importance of on-premise signs to the branding, marketing, and advertising efforts of retailers. For more information, please contact [email protected].

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.