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"Ask A Trooper" talks political signs

by Bonnie Amistadi

ASK A TROOPER by Sgt. Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol

Question: Im starting to see political signs pop up all over along the highways. What are the rules with these? Thanks!

Answer: Placement of campaign signs in state highway rights-of-way is prohibited under MN State Statute 160.27. In addition, campaign signs may not be placed on private property outside of the right-of-way limits without landowner consent.

Highway rights-of-way include the driving lanes, inside and outside shoulders, ditches and sight corners at intersections. Signs in violation will be removed and impounded at one of the local Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT ) maintenance truck stations.

Violation of the law is a misdemeanor. Civil penalties also may apply if the placement of a sign contributes to a motor vehicle crash and injures a person, or damages a motor vehicle that runs off the road. In addition, the Minnesota Outdoor Advertising Control Act (MN State Statute 173.15) prohibits erecting advertising on public utility poles, trees and shrubs, and painting or drawing on rocks or natural features.

These laws are administered in a fair and impartial manner. Political campaign signs are treated in the same way as any other signs wrongly placed on state highway property by businesses, churches, private citizens or charitable groups. For information regarding the proper placement of campaign signs or where to find signs that have been removed, contact your local MnDOT office. See also www.dot.state.mn.us/govrel/rw_signs.html .

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, jesse.grabow@state.mn.us ).