Austin, TX — January 29, 2021 — This week, Scenic Texas announced its legislative priorities for the current legislative session that aim to preserve and enhance the state’s visual environment.
Among Scenic Texas’ priorities are passing legislation protecting dark skies, supporting local control of city ordinances, upholding billboard standards, restoring natural beauty along Texas highways, and designating certain highways as scenic highways to protect them from visual decline.
“Scenic Texas has been defining what is important to protect and enhance the visual character of our state for 35 years, we are going into this session with clear priorities,” said Sarah Tober, president of Scenic Texas. “Fortunately, our priorities don’t require any additional fiscal commitments to the state budget and, in fact, would bring in needed tourism dollars to Texas while protecting our scenic environment.”
Scenic Texas’ legislative priorities include:
- Protecting Dark Skies: Excessive light pollution puts Texans at risk of losing their natural nighttime environment. When was the last time you could see the Big Dipper from your back porch?
- Upholding Billboard Standards: Location, size, height, spacing and lighting of outdoor advertising are hallmark advocacy issues for Scenic Texas. Thanks to Scenic Texas efforts, billboards along Texas rural roads are limited to 42.5 feet and along Texas federal highways, 98% of billboards are capped at 60 feet.
- Green Ribbon Program Stewardship: Restoring natural beauty along Texas highways through landscaping projects and other visual enhancements is the goal of TxDOT’s Green Ribbon Program. Keeping this important program fully funded has been a top priority for Scenic Texas for almost two decades.
- Scenic Highway Designations: Scenic Texas has worked with local and state authorities since 2001 to pass legislation that designates portions of county and state roads as scenic highways, protecting them from visual decline.
- Local Control of Ordinances: Efforts to remove or weaken local control over land use, trees, parks, and other elements impacting the visual landscape are introduced in the Texas Legislature every session. Scenic Texas devotes increasing amounts of time defending the authority of municipalities to create their own local standards and ordinances.
Scenic Texas, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the visual character of Texas. We are the only state nonprofit that helps citizens safeguard the scenic qualities of Texas roadways, countryside, and communities. Scenic Texas is an affiliate of Scenic America.
For more information on Scenic Texas’ legislative priorities, please email laura@laurahokePR.com.