If you came across purple paint on a tree, fence, piece of wood or building in the Hudson Valley, or across New York State would you know what it means?
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While it’s not yet an official rule in New York purple paint is quickly becoming a “No Trespassing” sign across the United States.
Over 15 states currently have a purple paint law which carries the same legal significance as “No Trespassing” signs in those states.
The law helps landowners from having to replace printed scenes that are often stolen or damaged, Snopes reports.
During the 2017-2018 Legislative Session New York Senator James L. Seward (R, 51st Senate District) introduced a purple paint law in New York. Seward states the following in his bill:
This bill would allow property owners to place purple paint markings
on trees as an alternative to the current method of defining one’s
property through posted signs. The reasoning behind the existing law’s
provisions is rational, as most people would initially assume that the
best way of conveying any sort of message is through the posting of a
sign. However, as time has passed, it is clear to see that this
conventional method comes with some faults, which this legislation
seeks to amend. The prime defect of this technique of delineating
property lines is a sign’s ability to be tampered with and/or removed
completely. Trespassers can easily vandalize these posted signs in a
way which would free them of any accountability for unlawfully laying
foot on another’s property, most commonly in instances of hunting.
Aside from the physical and timely demands of maintaining these signs, one must also consider the economic demands. The constant repair
and/or reinstallation of these signs and fences adds an extra, and
burdensome, expense to property owners. Under this bill, this
shortcoming of the standard posted sign is ultimately eliminated, or
at the very least, dramatically lessens the likelihood of such
Seward explains the color purple was chosen because it stands out in a natural setting, isn’t used in the forestry industry and is a hue that people who are colorblind can recognize. The bill died in the assembly in January 2018.
A purple paint law went into effect in neighboring Pennsylvania in 2020.
The following states currently have a purple paint law, according to Q105.7.
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
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