REGULATION WATCH;PRO-TOBACCO AD FORCES WIN BATTLE OF THE BOARDS

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Here is a rundown on marketing-related issues at the state and local level, as gathered by the American Advertising Federation in cooperation with the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers.

CALIFORNIA

San Francisco Supervisor Angela Alioto proposed banning outdoor tobacco advertising within 1,500 feet of schools, parks, playgrounds and recreation areas. Representatives of AAF and Four A's testified against the proposal at a Nov. 16 hearing. Ms. Alioto subsequently announced the proposal would not move forward.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

District City Councilman William Lightfoot introduced legislation restricting alcohol advertising. Earlier he introduced a similar measure targeting tobacco advertising. Neither proposal is scheduled for council consideration.

FLORIDA

Several Florida Four A's member agencies report being audited by the state Department of Revenue. The sales tax audits appear to be part of a stepped-up effort by the department to visit small and mid-size agencies. The Department continues to wrestle with the implementation of the 1993 court decision involving the William Cook Agency, which held advertising services to be tax exempt.

MICHIGAN

Gov. John Engler signed legislation designed to give the force of law to long-standing tax exemptions for specific creative services used to make advertising. The five-year campaign to change the state tax regulations was led by the Michigan advertising alliance with support from the AAF-affiliated Detroit Adcrafters and the Michigan AAAA Council.

NEW JERSEY

The state Assembly is considering a bill that would restrict advertising by retailers about manufacturer's rebates. The bill would prohibit a retailer from advertising the net price of a product (computed by subtracting the amount of the rebate) unless the retailer actually provides the customer with the amount of the rebate at the time of the purchase. The ANA has opposed the measure, arguing it raised First Amendment concerns and unduly interferes in the business relationship between product manufacturers and retailers. An amended version of the bill was approved in an Assembly committee in early December, but no further action was taken and the measure is expected to die.

MINNESOTA

A federal judge has struck down a Preston ordinance banning brand-specific point of purchase advertising and promotional items.

OHIO

In 1994, the Cincinnati City Council enacted a law banning outdoor tobacco advertising. In negotiations with the city's outdoor advertising industry, the council has agreed to a plan that would restrict outdoor tobacco ads from being placed within view of a primary or secondary school, public park or playground, place of worship or hospital. Similarly, outdoor alcohol ads cannot be placed within 500 feet of any school or hospital.

VERMONT

The Vermont Advertising Alliance has completed discussions with the state Department of Revenue regarding new regulations governing the state's sales tax on advertising services. The alliance, chaired by Four A's member Barbara Sandage, has outlined a plan to bring the new proposals before the Legislature early this year.

WISCONSIN

The Wauskesha Common Council voted down a proposal to restrict and/or prohibit tobacco advertising on outdoor boards. Brad Yarmark of Eller media and a board member of the AAF affiliate Milwaukee Advertising Club spearheaded opposition to the proposal.

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