1 Here is a rundown on marketing-related issues at the state and local level, as gathered by the American Advertising Federation.
State Rep. Mike Wagner (R., Baltic) recently introduced legislation to eliminate state sales tax exemptions over a period of years. AAF South Dakota Legislative Chairs Laura Hovey-Neubert, president, RPM Entertainment, and Brian Bonde, VP-development for the Crippled Children's Hospital and School Foundation in Sioux Falls, report the bill, which proposes to repeal the advertising exemption in 1995, has been tabled in the House Taxation Committee. Any further action will require a two-thirds vote of the entire House, a situation not likely to occur.
State Sen. Harold Miller (D., Pawtucket) recently proposed a 7% sales tax on advertising services provided by general circulation newspapers. The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee, of which Sen. Miller is not a member. No further action has been scheduled.
On Jan. 27, the Transportation Committee of the New York City Council conducted a hearing on the advertising policy of the city's Metropolitan Transit Authority. Advertisements deemed "offensive" by committee members were the main topic of discussion.
Daniel Troy, a representative of AAF legal counsel Wiley, Rein & Fielding, testified at the hearing. He reminded committee members that commercial speech is protected under the First Amendment and that the government is prohibited from banning ads based on standards of taste or "appropriateness" unless the ads are shown to be deceptive or obscene.
Baltimore City Council members on Feb. 28 approved an ordinance banning outdoor tobacco advertising. A similar ordinance banning outdoor ads for alcoholic beverages passed the council and was signed into law by Mayor Kurt Schmoke in January. Members of the AAF affiliate Advertising Association of Baltimore testified and wrote letters opposing both measures. AAF VP-State Government Affairs Clark Rector also testified against the measures at a November council hearing. Lawsuits challenging the alcohol ad ban have been filed by Penn Outdoor Advertising and Anheuser-Busch.
State Rep. Barbara Gray has introduced a proposal to ban outdoor advertising of alcohol and tobacco products. Scott Cheyne, senior VP at Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston, and legislative chair with the AAF affiliate Ad Club of Greater Boston, reports the legislation also calls for a reduction in the total number of outdoor boards in Massachusetts. No action is scheduled.
State lawmakers recently introduced two bills restricting advertising of tobacco products. Assemblyman Harold Colburn introduced a measure prohibiting tobacco advertising on certain public properties. Sen. Jack Sinagra's bill bans tobacco advertising within 1,000 feet of schools. Neither bill is scheduled for action.