Digital billboards are staying out of Austin after a vote by the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday.
The Supreme Court voted 6-3 to uphold the city of Austin's restrictions on "off-premises" billboards after two advertising companies sued over infringement of free speech. Off-premises billboards are signs advertising businesses that are not at the property where the sign is located.
The high court ultimately ruled that the city can restrict new billboards that are deemed off-premises from going up, including digitized ones—flashy signs that switch images digitally up to every eight seconds—and that it does not impermissibly restrict speech.
The city stopped any new off-premises billboards from going up years ago in a move to preserve nature and prevent distracted driving. The ordinance did not affect existing billboards, but the past few years have been riddled with court battles around what billboards are allowed.
A years-long court battle started in 2017, when Lamar Advertising Company and Reagan Outdoor Advertising, asked the city of Austin to allow them to digitize up to 85 of their billboards. When they were denied, the pair sued arguing the regulations were discriminatory since on-premise signs were allowed to be digital, making this a content-based issue where they said their first amendment rights were violated. The Fifth Circuit agreed in its Aug. 25, 2020 opinion.
Writing for the majority Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote "this rule, which holds that a regulation cannot be content neutral if it requires reading the sign at issue, is too extreme an interpretation of this Court’s precedent."
Though Austin has taken on a tech hub identity, groups like nonprofit Scenic Texas have been supportive of the city fighting against more billboards and digitized ones. Margaret Lloyd, a Scenic Texas board member, told Austonia high tech doesn't have to mean ugly for Austin's landscape.
"Congratulations to the city of Austin for winning this case...This isn't just isolated to Austin—it's a win for cities everywhere," Lloyd said.
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Austin police are investigating the killing of Moriah "Mo" Wilson after she was found with gunshot wounds inside an Austin home.
Wilson, a gravel and mountain bike racer, was visiting Austin from Colorado in preparation for the Gravel Locos race on Saturday taking place in Hico, a small town 2 hours from Austin.
On Wednesday, her roommate came home and found Wilson unresponsive with "a lot of blood near her,” police said. It is now being investigated as a suspicious death. No further information on the suspect or motive behind the killing are available at this time.
Wilson recently had become a full-time biker after winning a slew of races in the past year.
Some of your favorite Instagram filters can’t be used in Texas anymore and Austinites are sounding off on social media.
Meta, Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, announced on Wednesday that certain filters would no longer be available in Texas.
The change is a result of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit against Meta, alleging the company uses facial recognition technology that violates laws in Texas. A release from Meta says it stopped using facial recognition tech in November 2021 and denies Paxton’s allegations.
Some Austinites bemoaned the shift, saying some of their favorite filters were now unavailable.
This was my FAVORITE filter on @instagram and they done removed it cause I’m in Texas ! Like wowwwwww pic.twitter.com/uX60hdIC0Q
— Pinkyy Montana (@inkstar_pinkyy) May 11, 2022
i heard that instagram filters got banned in texas? what the actual fuck y’all better give me my favorite filter back
— lia 🤍 (@liatootrill) May 11, 2022
loved this stupid filter sm i hate texas pic.twitter.com/DXr9mmUc64
— birthday boy jeno 🎂 (@beabtox) May 12, 2022
But more often than not, locals joked about the ban.
Texas women seeing the filter ban on IG pic.twitter.com/yDMcP3Qtsr
— Christian (Anabolic) Flores (@christian_flo24) May 11, 2022
So, the state of Texas has banned filter use on IG? THE END IS NEAR. 😂
— THE FRANCHISE! Франшиза (@NYCFranchise718) May 12, 2022
And some in-between chose to show off some natural beauty.
I live in Texas, but no filter needed. 😉 pic.twitter.com/A6teRgYMKn
— bad and bruja (@starseedmami) May 11, 2022
filter, no filter..texas women still reign supreme.
— 🎍 (@_sixile) May 11, 2022
Finally, some are trying to cash in on the opportunity.
Texas IG users- if you want to filter your picture cashapp me $1.50 $ErvnYng
— Gemini (@ervn_y) May 11, 2022
Meta said it plans to create an opt-in system for both Texas and Illinois residents, who are facing the same issues.