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Oversized church signs could cost Oklahoma millions in federal funding

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A state lawmaker is asking the federal government to allow churches in our state to have signs four times the current legal limit.

These are signs you typically find in rural towns that tell you where each church is located in that town.

If it’s along a state highway, under federal regulations, many of these signs across Oklahoma are illegal.

Land owners could have to cough up a pretty penny to remove the existing signs and put new, bigger ones up.

But it’s already happening in Representative Mike Brown’s district in northwestern Oklahoma.

“They’re notified by the state highway department that ‘you have  a non-conforming sign in the corner of your pasture, and you've got 30 days, or 45 days to get it down or we'll charge you 4,000 dollars,’” Rep. Brown said.

Rep. Brown is asking for the federal highway administration to change its policy from the current size limit of 8 square feet to 32 square feet.

The Oklahoma Legislature passed a state law already allowing the bigger signage, but the federal government notified ODOT that law could cause our state to lose about $62 million in federal funding each year.

“Just change the rule to 32 square feet is all we're asking,” Rep. Brown said.

ODOT is  also responsible for enforcing the Highway Beautification Act, but Rep. Brown says he is
"unaware of any size restrictions for church signs in the original Highway Beautification Act."

State leaders say they’ve been working on this issue for years.

The Federal Department of Transportation has yet to make its decision.

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