Political sign violations rampant
By 01/24/2008 00:00:00
Constable, pct. 2
It's great to see such great campaign enthusiasm.
I just wanted to remind all the local candidates of Texas Law relating to campaign sign placement violations and actual sign design/wording. It has come to my attention that there are many sign violations throughout Ellis County.
I have prepared a synopsis of the laws governing these issues as follows:
Texas Election Code, § 255.006. MISLEADING USE OF OFFICE TITLE (a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly enters into a contract or other agreement to print, publish, or broadcast political advertising with the intent to represent to an ordinary and prudent person that a candidate holds a public office that the candidate does not hold at the time the agreement is made. (b) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly represents in a campaign communication that a candidate holds a public office that the candidate does not hold at the time the representation is made. (c) For purposes of this section, a person represents that a candidate holds a public office that the candidate does not hold if: (1) the candidate does not hold the office that the candidate seeks; and (2) the political advertising or campaign communication states the public office sought but does not include the word 'for' in a type size that is at least one-half the type size used for the name of the office to clarify that the candidate does not hold that office. (d) A person other than an officeholder commits an offense if the person knowingly uses a representation of the state seal in political advertising. (e) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor. Texas Transportation Code, § 392.031. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter: (1) 'Sign' means an outdoor sign, display, light, device, figure, painting, drawing, message, plaque, poster, or other thing designed, intended, or used to advertise or inform. (2) 'State highway right-of-way' means the right-of-way of a highway designated as part of the state highway system. Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. § 392.032. OFFENSE. (a) A person may not place or maintain a sign on a state highway right-of-way unless authorized by state law. (b) A person commits an offense if the person violates this section. (c) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor. Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. CHAPTER 393. OUTDOOR SIGNS ON PUBLIC RIGHTS-OF-WAY § 393.001. DEFINITION. In this chapter, 'sign' means an outdoor sign, display, light, device, figure, painting, drawing, message, plaque, poster, or other thing designed, intended, or used to advertise or inform. Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. § 393.002. SIGN PLACEMENT PROHIBITED. Except as provided by Sections 393.0025 and 393.0026, a person may not place a sign on the right-of-way of a public road unless the placement of the sign is authorized by state law. Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1393, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by: Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 612, § 4, eff. September 1, 2007. § 393.0026. EXCEPTION. (a) This chapter does not apply to a temporary directional sign or kiosk erected by a political subdivision as part of a program approved by the department and administered by the political subdivision on a highway within the boundaries of the political subdivision. (b) This chapter does not apply to a sign placed in the right-of-way by a public utility or its contractor for purposes of the utility. § 393.003.
CONFISCATION, NOTICE, AND PUBLIC AUCTION.
(a) A sheriff, constable, or other trained volunteer authorized by the commissioners court of a county may confiscate a sign placed in violation of Section 393.002. (b) If the owner of a confiscated sign is known, the sheriff or constable shall notify the owner of the confiscation by certified mail, return receipt requested, not later than the 10th day after the date of the confiscation. If the owner of the sign is not known, the sheriff or constable shall publish notice of the confiscation in a newspaper of general circulation in the county not later than the 10th day after the date of the confiscation. § 393.005. PLACEMENT OF UNAUTHORIZED SIGN; PENALTY. (a) A person commits an offense if the person places a sign in Violation of this chapter. (b) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor. In summary, any campaign sign for a candidate of an office not currently held by that candidate, may not print, publish, broadcast, or communicate political advertising unless the word 'FOR' is printed in letters at least ½ or 50% the size of the word for the office being sought. Violation of this law is a Class 'A' misdemeanor. Placing a sign in a public roadway's Right-of-Way is prohibited by Chapters 392 and 393 of the Texas Transportation Code. This Right-of-Way often times extends onto the actual property owners physical property, but usually stops where public utilities do. Better to be safe than sorry since property plats would be needed to verify. Happy campaigning and good luck to you all. Constable Terry L. Nay Ellis County Precinct 2 www.elliscountyconstable.com