Vital Signs: For planners and local officials who draft, debate and enforce sign ordinances
Posted on April 21, 2022

On-Premises Signage U.S. Supreme Court Decision Announced

Today in the Austin v. Reagan decision, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that the traditional regulatory distinction between on-premises signs and off-premises signs (billboards) is content-neutral and constitutional.

ISA has long contended that the traditional regulatory distinction between billboards and on-premises signs is location-based, not content-based, and that local governments should have the ability to treat on-premises signs different from billboards if they thought it was best for their communities. 

ISA submitted two amicus briefs to SCOTUS urging them to rule in favor of the traditional regulatory distinction, the first one with Scenic Texas asking SCOTUS to grant Austin's petition for certiorari and the second on behalf of the on-premises sign industry.

"We are pleased with the Court's decision in Austin v. Reagan, as it confirms the sign code status quo in thousands of local communities by allowing them to regulate on-premises signs differently than billboards if they so choose," said David Hickey, ISA's Vice President of Advocacy. "We look forward to working with local officials and communities on these latest legal developments and other sign code issues."

The Court emphasized in their decision that sign regulations are subject to an intermediate level of judicial scrutiny, and that communities must narrowly tailor such regulations to serve a substantial government interest, such as traffic safety or aesthetics.

ISA will continue monitoring these legal developments and analyzing what they mean for local jurisdictions and will keep you informed as we understand the implications more fully.

Please contact ISA's David Hickey with any questions.


David Hickey
Vice President, Advocacy
International Sign Association
Vital Signs


David Hickey, VP Advocacy

David Hickey
VP, Advocacy

James Carpentier, AICP

James Carpentier, AICP
Director, State & Local Goverment

Kenny Peskin

Kenny Peskin
Director, Industry Programs @signcodeguy


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