Driving through the great state of Missouri just got a little more interesting, thanks to the Sixth Circuit:
A Missouri law barring sexually oriented businesses from advertising within a mile of the state’s highways unconstitutionally limits commercial free speech, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.
A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the law is unconstitutional “in its entirety” because it is not “narrowly tailored” to meet the state’s goals of reducing crime and improving traffic safety.
From now on, John Ashcroft is taking the back roads.
The appeals court also struck down as unconstitutional a provision of the statute allowing a sexually oriented business to display no more than two exterior signs on its premises. The provision limited the signs to stating the business’s name, address, operating hours and language giving notice that minors are not allowed.
“Should the affected business owner choose to post a sign with the price of gasoline, or a sign advertising a nationally known soft drink on the exterior of the business, he or she would be subject to criminal prosecution,” the court’s opinion stated….
The Eighth Circuit left intact, however, the statutory ban on outdoor advertising of Slurpees. The court held that this provision was well within the state’s “police power,” and necessary to protect the health and welfare of Missouri citizens.
Sex-ad billboards will stay [Kansas City Star]