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Politics

Loud Car Radio Ban Heads to Senate Floor

April 14, 2013 - 6:00pm

A ban on the overblaring of car stereos passed through its final Senate committee stop Monday afternoon, and now heads to the full chamber floor.

SB 634 (Motor Vehicles), sponsored by Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-New Port Richey, would ban the blaring of sounds that are plainly audible at a distance of 25 feet or more from a motor vehicle. A similar law was struck down last year by the Florida Supreme Court for being an unconstitutionally vague restriction on free speech, because that ban contained exemptions for vehicles used for political or business purposes.

Simpson's proposed revision treats all motor vehicles the same, so it should pass constitutional muster.

Excessively loud stereos are dangerous for those on the road as well as incredibly disturbing to citizens and businesses, Simpson told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The committee declined to approve a proposed amendment by Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, which would have required police officers to record the race and ethnicity of alleged violators. She said her amendment was required to ensure the law would not be used as a pretext for targeting black and Latino drivers.

"We have a compelling state interest for us to do this," Joyner insisted, to no avail. "We want to make sure that there is no profiling. I want facts, and they will come about as a result of record-keeping."

The House counterpart, HB 1019, sponsored by Kevin Rader, D-Delray Beach, is already before that chamber's floor, on its second reading.

Reach Eric Giunta at esgiunta@sunshinestatenews.com and at (954) 235-9116.

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