Sign Ordinances and the First Amendment

Informational Memo

Published: July 12, 2019

Sign Ordinances and the First Amendment
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This material contains general information; it should not be used as a substitute for legal advice. Any attorney general opinions cited in this material are available on request from the League’s Research and Information Service staff.

Learn how to design a sign ordinance for your city that meets the requirements of the First Amendment for protecting various forms of speech.  Discusses content based and content neutral principles along with commercial versus noncommercial speech. Signs includes billboards, message boards, electronic signs and yard signs focusing especially on election or campaign season signs. Discusses a seminal court case regulating signs, Reed v. Town of Gilbert.