Barely 4 months since the Florida Supreme Court struck down a law against cranking up a car stereo, Florida legislators are at it again, pushing to reinstate a similar law.
The new bill would ban music in a vehicle that is audible at a distance of 25 feet or more from the car. The old law did too, but it excluded businesses and politicians from the ban. The state Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional for that reason.
“So a car could be pulled over for blaring music but a van blasting political campaign commercials was excluded, so it was called a violation of free speech. So we’re removing what was unconstitutional,” said Patrick Weightman, a legislative assistant to bill sponsor Wilton Simpson, a Republican State Senator.
The new bill, SB 634 and HB 1019 has already gained approval from two Florida Senate committees this week, and three House committees. It needs approval by one more House committee before it may be voted on by the state Legislature.
Weightman believes it has a good chance of passing by the end of May.
The bill is reportedly supported by groups representing the State’s police chiefs and sheriffs.
Noise violations would carry a $30 fine, but there would be no points against one’s driving record.
Under the new law, municipalities and counties would be free to set their own guidelines, such as enforcing the statue only after 10 pm, Weightman said.
The Florida Supreme Court ruling was the result of a suit filed by a Florida lawyer, Richard Catalano, who was pulled over for blasting a Justin Timberlake song back in 2007. He fought the citation all the way to the State’s highest court and won.