Sunday, July 15, 2007

Unamplified Voices Will Remain Exempt from Noise Limits

The District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR) already include the following, which Councilmember Tommy Wells' pending bill does NOT change:

DCMR § 20-2704.8 "The unamplified voice shall be exempt at all times."

Unamplified voices are and should remain exempt from the District's noise ordinance. We support this provision, which protects large gatherings of people energized on issues of critical importance--such as labor rights or Darfur.

If enough people are energized about an issue, they should dominate the public debate--not one person with a big amplifier.

As a matter of fact, Tommy's bill actually enhances free speech: D.C.'s current law violates the right to free speech for those without--or with smaller--amplifiers.

The result: Individuals or small groups cannot possibly compete if money and volume is left unchecked. The amplification devices will just get bigger and bigger until only one or two views can be heard.

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