The constitutionality of Kentucky's limitations on roadside billboards was debated at the Cincinnati-based appeals court after a federal judge allowed an adult bookstore to keep its ad on the side of a tractor-trailer.
department asked the Sixth Circuit panel to overturn the decision of a federal judge who determined the Kentucky Billboard Act is unconstitutional and imposes a content-based restriction on speech.
The billboard in question advertises the Lion's
Den Adult Superstore off Interstate 65 and sits on a piece of land leased to the business by a former employee.
Kentucky claims the ad -- riveted to the side of a tractor-trailer -- is illegal under the Billboard Act because the owners did not
obtain a permit, it is not securely fixed to the ground, and is on a mobile structure.
No timetable has been set for the court's decision.
A strip club sued Michigan Governor Rick Snyder in federal court over a new state law that bans adult businesses from putting anything but words, numbers and a logo on signs and billboards.
Lawyers for the Penthouse Club in Detroit, argue the
restrictions are unconstitutional and asked a judge to issue a temporary restraining order against enforcement of the regulations.
Adult businesses can be fined up to $10,000 for violations under the law that took effect last week.
only affects adult businesses and requires logos on billboards to be registered as federal trademarks, which have their own restrictions on sexually explicit material. Former Governor Jennifer Granholm signed the bills into law in December, but they did
not take effect until last week. Violators are subject to fines of $10,000 a day, and revenue from scofflaws would go into a fund for public libraries.
U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson has temporarily stopped the state of Kansas from enforcing a law restricting roadside signs for adult stores.
The judge issued the preliminary injunction sought by Lion's Den Adult Superstore in Abilene, Kansas
after hearing arguments.
Lion's Den has been trying to overturn the state law, which would become effective July 1 and require the company to remove outdoor advertising within a mile of a state highway.
Representatives at the Kansas
attorney general's office called the decision unfortunate and said it would evaluate its options. The attorney general was sued in federal court by the parent company of Lions Den on grounds that the law violated the 1st Amendment.
A state law restricting billboards that advertise for strip clubs and sex shops does not violate the First Amendment, lawyers for Kansas Attorney General Stephen Six argued.
The arguments came in court papers in response to a federal lawsuit
filed by a company that operates a central Kansas adult store challenging the constitutionality of a law that prevents such businesses from having any outdoor advertising within a mile of a state highway starting July 1.
The lawsuit was filed by
company which operates Lions Den Adult Superstore in Abilene. The store is seeking a temporary order to prevent the state from enforcing the statute. It argues that the law violates First Amendment guarantees of free speech and Fourteenth Amendment
guarantees of due process.
But attorneys for Six wrote that the store's billboards aren't protected by the First Amendment because they don't concern lawful activity. Six's lawyers also argued that the law survives First Amendment scrutiny
because it advances substantial governmental interests.
The statute allows onsite signs for businesses that are within a mile of a state highway. But they can have just two signs: One giving the shop's name, address, phone number, operating hours
and a statement, and the other stating that minors are not allowed. The identification sign can also be no larger than 40 square feet. Violation of the statute is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a month in the county jail and a fine of up to $500.
The lawsuit notes similar state statutes already have been struck down in Missouri, Georgia and South Carolina.