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Know the West

The troubling tentacles of Citizens United


I feel really fortunate to live in one of four states that have outright bans on billboards (HCN, 1/23/12, "Billboards vs. Democracy"). Despite an underhanded attempt to gut the Alaska billboard ban a few years ago, the citizens rose up with a resounding no.

Call me a worrier, but will the Citizens United case, which found corporations to be "persons" with free-speech rights to influence political campaigns, spill over into the outdoor advertising arena, with claims that corporate "free speech rights" are unconstitutionally infringed upon by bans or controls on roadside advertising? I certainly hope not, but there is no guarantee.

Tom Meacham
Anchorage, Alaska