Rural lawmakers attempt to limit Austin’s enforcement of sound ordinances

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Two out-of-town, Republican lawmakers have filed legislation that would limit the City of Austin’s ability to enforce sound ordinances in neighborhoods.

Texas House Bill 3813 would prevent a city with a population of more than 750,000 people, in a county with fewer than 1.5 million, to regulate amplified sound by bars and venues in neighborhoods if the sound does not exceed 85 decibels — a level that the Centers for Disease Control warns can cause hearing damage.

Austin is the only city in Texas that meets the bill’s population criteria.

“In this instance, the outside interference from the legislature would be misguided, misdirected, not welcome, and not appropriate,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler said at a press conference on Monday.

It’s unclear why Rep. Cody Harris of Hillsboro and Rep. Travis Clady of Nacogdoches filed legislation that would only impact Austin. Neither member could be reached for comment on Monday.

Austin currently restricts amplified sound that exceeds 75 decibels in neighborhoods. Adler said the legislation would stop the city from brokering individual agreements with neighborhoods by seeking community input.

“Where those numbers are; when the hours are; where the music can happen should be defined by us as a community,” said Cody Kellin, executive director of the Red River Cultural District.

The bill is currently being considered by the Culture, Recreation & Tourism Committee. If approved, the law would take effect on Sept. 1.

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