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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: March 31, 2021 12:45 PM
From: Representative Mike Jones
To: All House members
Subject: Noise Relief for Restaurants, Bars, and Musicians
The latest round of federal PPP loans incentivize bars and restaurants to invest in outdoor seating venues.  These venues in turn provide for additional capacity, additional distancing, and much needed additional revenue opportunities, not only for the restaurants and bars, but for hard hit musicians and entertainers as well.  However, if we don’t act quickly (PPP money must be spent within a matter of months), our current state noise regulations are going to thwart many of these opportunities by discouraging owners from making such investments.  Why?  Because these venues cannot have any amplified sound that is audible beyond their property.  Yet another short sighted, over reaching state regulation.  Soon, I will be introducing legislation regarding amplified sound, with the intention of encouraging our restaurants and bars to invest in outdoor seating and entertainment. Under current law the Liquor Control Enforcement (LCE) agency can fine bars and restaurants for petty noise violations simply because they can be heard beyond the business’s property line.  Furthermore, these fines often stem from anonymous complaints which can be filed by anyone, including disgruntled employees, competitors, etc. who don’t even live near the property.  The LCE has plenty to do without inserting itself into the enforcement of unreasonable, unnecessary, one size fits all noise regulations.  
This affords us a great opportunity to support our beloved local businesses and musicians, spur investment, and aid in economic recovery. Like many of you, I frequently consult with bar and restaurant owners. They would be far more likely to investment in infrastructure, increase hiring, and provide financial opportunities for local musicians and entertainers if they were subject only to local noise ordinances tailored to each community’s individual characteristics and considerations. 

Accordingly, my legislation simply extends to bars and restaurants the same freedom we already extend to limited wineries by allowing them to utilize an amplified sound device, provided the sound does not exceed 75 decibels beyond their property line.  It extends this provision only from 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM Sunday to Thursday, and 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM Friday and Saturday. 
Lastly, please note my bill will not impact the city of Philadelphia, as it only applies to counties 2A through 8.  If my Philadelphia colleagues prefer we extend it to the city I’m certainly happy to do so.
Thank you in advance for consideration of this important, time sensitive legislation.

Introduced as HB1497