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Photo Courtesy of DCL (Fabricator), Design by Poulin+Morris
Photo Courtesy of DCL (Fabricator), Design by Poulin+Morris

Four Advocacy Areas to Watch in 2018

Posted: 01/08/2018

1. Regulatory reform at the federal level

Every day, sign, graphics and visual communications companies spend thousands of dollars to comply with mandates from Washington, DC. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, federal regulations cost the U.S. economy over $1 trillion a year. ISA continues to work with other interested groups at the federal level to ensure that Washington understands the impact these actions have on the day-to-day operations of small businesses throughout the country.

2. Lawsuits at the state level

State and federal district courts have been hearing lawsuits lately that are all related to billboards—or off-premise signs. In Tennessee, a federal court struck down the state's department of transportation's Billboard Regulation and Control Act, initially passed in 1972. The judge ruled it was unconstitutional because it banned commercial and non-commercial speech on the basis of content. A similar lawsuit in Texas was also found to be unconstitutional. ISA and its Affiliated Associations will continue to monitor these lawsuits as they wind through the lengthy court process to ensure that they do not impact the on-premise sign, graphics and visual communications industry.

3. Continued impact of Reed v. Town of Gilbert

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Reed will turn three this summer, but it is showing no signs of slowing down. Communities throughout the U.S. continue to re-examine their sign codes to ensure compliance. As communities have explored whether their sign codes comply with Reed, ISA and the Sign Research Foundation have developed materials and educational sessions designed to help planners and local officials understand more. (See these resources at By continuing to educate local officials on this important issue, ISA has established itself as a credible resource, and we're finding that officials are coming to us more and asking for assistance with other issues. This is turning the tide in important ways for our industry. The year ahead looks to offer even more opportunities to work on sign codes at the local level.

4. OSHA crane operator certification: Will it finally happen?

Every time we near the deadline for OSHA's crane operator certification, the deadline is delayed. Most recently, the November 10, 2017, deadline was bumped back a year to November 10, 2018. If this continues on its expected course, sign, graphics and visual communications companies would be wise to start paying attention now—and to begin putting plans in place to meet this mandate. ISA will continue to monitor this sweeping change at