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Letter to Matt Michels President of the Senate; Veto Message for SB157


Location: Pierre, SD

Gov. Dennis Daugaard has vetoed the following bill:

SB157 - An Act to revise certain provisions relating to outdoor advertising signs.

For more information about this and other bills, please visit

Note: A copy of Governor Daugaard's veto message follows.

March 16, 2012
The Honorable Matt Michels
President of the Senate
500 East Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501-5070

Dear Mr. President and Members of the Senate:

I respectfully return to you Senate Bill 157 with my VETO.

House Bill 157 is entitled, "An Act to revise certain provisions relating to outdoor advertising signs."

This bill arises from the current dispute over an initiated ordinance passed by Rapid City voters to regulate billboards in the city. After voters approved the measure, Lamar Advertising sued the city arguing that the ordinance was illegal. The city of Rapid City has defended the validity of its ordinance, asserting its authority to regulate outdoor advertising.

The Lamar Advertising litigation, which is currently pending in federal court, may turn upon the court's interpretation of South Dakota law on local regulation of billboards. Proponents of Senate Bill 157 have argued that this bill would clarify existing law. The city argues Senate Bill 157 unnecessarily invades the local regulatory sphere.

It is inappropriate to pass a bill that would have such a direct impact on the outcome of pending litigation in an isolated local matter. Passing this bill will effectively decide the lawsuit in favor of one side before either side is heard in court.

I am also concerned about passing this statute so soon after Rapid City voters clearly expressed their view of digital billboards, passing the initiated ordinance with 66.1 percent of the vote in June of 2011.

There are valid arguments to be made on both sides of this dispute. The parties should be given an equal opportunity to argue their positions before a judge and jury. I am open to discussing how the state can improve its outdoor advertising laws, but in this unique instance, I believe this local and isolated instance should be resolved in the court of competent jurisdiction. Before we seek to change this law, we should understand the meaning of the current law.

It is for these reasons that I respectfully request you sustain my veto of Senate Bill 157.

Respectfully submitted,

Dennis Daugaard

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