First Amendment Rights of Advertisers Threatened Yet Again

June 8, 2016

Yesterday, ANA sent a letter to Baltimore City Councilmembers in opposition to a new bill that would require health warnings on ads for certain sugar sweetened beverages. ANA believes this type of legislation violates the First Amendment by seizing space on advertisements to carry a compelled government message. You can find our press release under the “Government Relations News” section of our Advocacy website.

The new Baltimore bill is just one of many initiatives we’ve seen in recent months aiming to dismantle the First Amendment’s protection of commercial free speech. The First Amendment enables advertisers to openly market their products and services without being subject to overly burdensome government interference. San Francisco and Berkeley, California have both recently passed ordinances that would require compelled government speech on advertisements – specifically, on ads for sugar-sweetened beverages in San Francisco and for cell phones in Berkeley. ANA’s goal is to protect the rights of advertisers from overzealous legislators and regulators seeking to impose onerous requirements on our industry. We will continue fighting the Baltimore, San Francisco, and Berkeley proposals and will work to stop these sorts of mandates before they become the norm in other states and localities.

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