Winston-Salem The Chronicle By Staff Writer May 18, 2017
SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE
Rep. Edward Hanes, in conjunction with Rep. David Lewis, Rep. Jason Saine, Rep. Ken Goodman, introduced legislation that would establish a public-private partnership between the outdoor advertising industry and the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management, Department of Public Safety, Secretary of State, Highway Patrol, North Carolina Center for Missing Persons, and Federal Emergency Management Agency.
House Bill 851 Revisions to Outdoor Advertising Laws was filed in the House and will be referred to a House Committee.
The creation of this partnership will provide a state-of-the-art public communication network dedicated to providing real-time information to motorists for an array of time-sensitive urgent messages, such as Amber alerts, silver alerts, wildfire information, hurricane evacuation notices as well as road closures and tornado alerts.
“We are excited about the various opportunities digital networks will provide for the communities we serve,” explained Bobby Soule, president of the North Carolina Outdoor Advertising Association. “In addition to providing a platform for critical emergency messaging, including Amber Alerts and severe weather information, digital billboards also provide local businesses the opportunity to change their advertising messages throughout the day in an incredibly cost effective manner.”
Digital billboards are a globally accepted advertising technology that engages travelers with digitized messages.
Enhanced digital structures provide a modern and aesthetically pleasing community design. This legislation will also increase the taxes and fees billboard companies pay to the State of North Carolina as well as the counties where digital conversions are implemented.
“I’m pleased to introduce legislation that enables outdoor advertising to move into the 21st century,” Rep. David Lewis said. “In addition to the benefits to the local economy, we’re improving our ability to communicate with the traveling public during emergencies. I firmly believe that had this law been in place last year it would have provided another tool for North Carolina Emergency Management to communicate with people during Hurricane Matthew.