Businesses in Missouri City, Texas using signs that “flutter”, “swing”, or “undulate” will run afoul of a new Missouri City ordinance prohibiting the use of signs that move or simulate movement. The new ordinance also creates a new class of criminal in Missouri City and imposes a fine of up to $500 per day.
From MissouriCityTx.gov (emphasis mine):
13.17. Prohibited signs.
The following signs shall be prohibited:
E. Except as provided by subsections 13.10.C and 13.12.C hereof, signs that move and signs that contain visible moving parts, including signs that blink, flash, flutter, rotate, spin, swing, travel, undulate, otherwise have ribbons, strings of light bulbs, moving lights or messages, or simulate movement.”
Section 9. Penalty. Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company, or organization of any kind who or which violates any provision of this zoning ordinance shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined in an amount not to exceed Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00). Each day during which said violation shall exist or occur shall constitute a separate offense.
The business owner or property owner of the business isn’t only “deemed” guilty of a misdemeanor—so is any business or individual who seeks to market the flutter sign to Missouri City store owners:
The owner or owners of any property or of premises where any violation of this zoning ordinance shall occur, and any agent, contractor, builder, architect, person, or corporation who shall assist in the commission of such offense shall be guilty of a separate offense unless otherwise prohibited by law and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished as above provided.
Missouri City Mayor “King” Allen Owen even went so far as to identify the persona of a specific Missouri City business that was in his line of sight.
Scroll to the 1:55:29 mark—
“…but that deal that’s flying by a certain phone company—that needs to go.”
Is THIS is the offensive fluttering sign?
For King Owens’ effort he and the Missouri City council members who voted to criminalize a form of First Amendment freedom of expression and penalize businesses who market their fluttering signs to Missouri City store owners win the award for Fort Bend Tyrant of the Month.