Proposed Legislation Aims to Relax Hawaii's Billboard Ban for New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District
February 7, 2024
Honolulu, HI | Image by AussieActive, Unsplash

A controversial proposal to relax Hawaii’s strict billboard ban has emerged in the state legislature. Hawaii State Bill 3197 seeks to allow digital billboards in the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District, sparking a heated debate among residents, advocates, and state officials.

The current anti-billboard law in Hawaii, hailed by many for preserving the state’s natural beauty for nearly a century, has faced its fair share of challenges over the years. However, this recent push to amend the legislation specifically for the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District has reignited the discussion and brought the ban to the forefront once again.

Critics of the proposed legislation point to the degradation of Hawaii’s iconic scenic beauty, and a dangerous precedent that would empower billboard companies for future attacks on statewide bans. Scenic America believes that Hawaii’s natural landscapes are a significant part of the state’s identity and that introducing digital billboards would compromise that very character.

A recent poll conducted by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser proved just how unpopular SB 3197, and any future exemptions on Hawaii’s billboard ban, would be. A remarkable 83% of respondents strictly opposed any exemption on the state’s billboard ban.

A poll from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser shows an overwhelming opposition to any relaxation of Hawaii’s billboard ban.

An editorial from early February, also published by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, advocated explicitly for the preservation of the state’s anti-billboard law. The editorial argues that the ban has played a crucial role in maintaining the scenic beauty that defines Hawaii and urges lawmakers to consider the long-term impact on the state’s cultural and environmental landscape.

Winston Welch, executive director of The Outdoor Circle, weighed in on SB 3197 and the implications it would have on Hawaii’s century’s-old billboard ban that the organization helped create: “Our state has benefited from these laws which The Outdoor Circle advanced since 1912. These laws have served to keep Hawaii free from visual pollution, protected our scenic views and preserved our beautiful landscape from ugly blight of billboards and their advertising.”

“Hawaii’s ban on billboards is truly a shining star,” said Mark Falzone, Scenic America president. “It sets a framework for other states to follow, and it has stood the test of time. This new legislation would destroy over a hundred years of advocacy and legal protections for Hawaii’s iconic scenic beauty.”

Scenic America stands with The Outdoor Circle in direct opposition to State Bill 3197, and encourage the citizens of Hawaii to act immediately to send a clear message that billboards are not welcome in Hawaii. Click here to sign a petition and contact Hawaii’s Senate Committee on Energy, Economic Development, and Tourism (EET). The EET will be convening on Thursday, February 8 to discuss SB 3197, so we encourage Hawaiians to send a clear message as soon as possible.

TAKE ACTION: No New Digital Billboards in Hawaii!

State Bill 3197 seeks to allow an exception to Hawaii’s century-old ban on billboards for the proposed New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District. This legislation would cause damage to Hawaii’s scenic beauty, promote dangerous distractions for drivers, cheapen and degrade our views, and set a dangerous precedent for similar billboard laws across the state and the country.

TAKE ACTION: No Digital Billboards in Hawaii