By Mason W. Canales
Killeen Daily Herald
NOLANVILLE – While election campaign signs often boast large, powerful wording, several Nolanville candidates running for city council are being accused of withholding the fine print.
According to the Texas Ethics Commission, which monitors civil complaints for the campaigning in the state, campaign signs must contain at least two things:
1. They must state who paid for the candidates' advertisement.
2. All signs that can be seen from public rights of way must include the following legal statement: NOTICE: IT IS A VIOLATION OF STATE LAW (CHAPTERS 392 AND 393, TRANSPORTATION CODE) TO PLACE THIS SIGN IN THE RIGHT-OF-WAY OF A HIGHWAY.
Several of the Nolanville City Council candidates are missing at least one, if not both, of the mandatory statements on their roadway signs.
Candidates missing the mandatory language on signs can be fined up to $4,000 with a civil action suit, said Tim Sorrells, Texas Ethics Commission deputy general councilman.
The fine for a missing right of way notice can be a $500 criminal fine or up to a $5,000 civil fine, Sorrells said.
"When a sworn complaint is filed, we would investigate it, and if charges are made then it would result in a fine," Sorrells said.
While Nolanville police have not had complaints about the signs, the Texas Ethics Commission received at least one call from a Nolanville candidate to report his opponents.
"We haven't received any complaints about that, but it is a civil offense only," said Lester Holsey Jr., Nolanville police chief. "If someone did call, then I would have to tell them to call the Texas Ethics Commission."
Some candidates have written the correct wording on their signs, much like the large painted wooden "Vote for Write in Clifford Tibbetts" roadway advertisements.
A quick survey of the signs on Main Street showed advertisements for Don Rohloff, Emma McCullough and Skip Matthews were in violation.
The Texas Ethics Commission has received about 221 complaints from across the state since January of this year, Sorrells said.
Contact Mason W. Canales at email@example.com or (254) 501-7554.