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Re:Re: Political Ad time limits

---------- Dan Billings <billingsdan@yahoo.com> writes:
Dave writes:
>  South Dakota Republican Bill Napoli
> wants to limit political ads to 60 days prior to an
> election.  (SNIP)  I don't think it
> infringes on any rights it just sets limits.

Dan writes:
>I can't imagine
>such a limit being found to be constitutional.  
>Content regulation of speech must be narrowly tailored
>to further a compelling government interest.  The
>regulation you describe would be considered a content
>regulation because it only applies to political

Dave writes:
I am certainly not an attorney, never claimed to be one, but unless there is a legal definition of "content" that is other than the common use of the word I don't see how placing a limit on when an ad can run would in any way influence its content. 

Dave also wrote:
> I know
> in Lowell there is a city ordinance, that is
> enforced pretty well, that limits political lawn
> signs to within 28 days (maybe 21) of the
> preliminary or primary election.  

To which Dan replied:
>I haven't researched this issue directly.  Generally,
>reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on
>speech are allowed.  The limits you describe above may
>fit that exception.  The Supreme Court has also
>allowed bans on billboards for safety and estectic
>reasons.  The rationale may also fit this case

Dave responds:
If you can limit when a political lawn sign can go up, which is a form of political advertising, saying it's okay to restrict time place and manner of the speech, how is that different from your argument regarding restriction of content since it is limited to political lawn signs?   

Dan also writes:
>Ignoring the constitutional argument such a limit
>would also greatly favor incumbents -- who already
>have significant advantages in our system.  

Dave responds:
There is very little that can be done to have an absolute level playing field, but limiting when the ads/signs etc can be used might be something to look at to end the perpetual campaigning by the best financed candidates at the expense of citizens who would like to get involved but don't have the financial backing that it currently takes.

Dan writes:
>I would favor eliminating the lowest unit rate rules
>that currently exist and the mandate that stations
>must sell spots to federal candidates.  I see no
>reason to subsidize candidates by giving them the
>rates given to a station's best customers.  

Dave responds:
I think elimination of the lowest unit rate rule would effectively prevent any candiate who is not a millionare or someone who does not have the financial backing it currently takes to run for office from seriously considering a run.  OTOH I agree it is not fair to the station owner, just one more thing that needs to be addressed.
Outside of candidates for federal office nothing currently prevents a station from rejecting all poltiical ads, I think back to the year that WBZ refused to accept political ads for candidates for Boston City Council.