Digital billboard proposal dropped

Legislation that would have allowed dozens of new electronic billboards to be installed along Southern California freeways has been dropped because of opposition from both environmentalists and lawmakers, the bill's author said Friday.

State Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino) said she may pursue the idea next year but acknowledged that she was unable to line up sufficient support for it by Friday's deadline for initial approval. The measure divided legislators from Southern California, which would bear the brunt of the changes if the measure was eventually approved.

There are 790 billboards along freeways in the state that do not conform to state law prohibiting them in landscaped areas but that have stayed up because they were installed before the landscaping.

The bill would have allowed 118 of the nonconforming billboards statewide to be converted during the next three years to digital signs capable of changing messages.

-- Patrick McGreevy

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