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Relating to the adoption of noise regulations by certain counties; creating a criminal offense; authorizing fees.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
HB 775 is bracketed by population to Harris County and would require the commissioners court of the county to prohibit sound from a loudspeaker or amplifier that exceeds 85 decibels at a distance of 50 feet from the property line on the property on which the loudspeaker or amplifier is located. This regulation would only apply to unincorporated areas of Harris County. Sound produced by various facilities, including chemical manufacturing facilities, electric, gas, or telecommunication utilities, and cable and video service providers would be exempt. Activities related to the exploration or production of natural resources would also be exempt.
A person who wishes to hold an event with noise that exceeds the limit would have to apply and pay for a permit, if the county chooses to offer such a permit. Harris County would be able to obtain injunctive relief against violators of the sound limit. Violations of the limit would be a Class C misdemeanor criminal offense.
Texas Action opposes HB 775 because it would create new and unnecessary government regulation, including the creation of a redundant criminal penalty. Texans in unincorporated areas can already rely on the state criminal statute for disorderly conduct if a person makes noise that exceeds 85 decibels near their property (Sec. 42.01(a)(5)). HB 775 would give Harris County the ability to regulate noise levels, which is currently reserved only for the state and cities.