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Arizona House Bill Could Arm Law Enforcement With Noise Pollution Meters

Kelly Townsend
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Kelly Townsend

A bill moving through the Arizona House on Monday could put noise meters in the hands of Valley law enforcement in much the same way as speed guns.

The idea for House Bill 2389, sponsored by Mesa Republican Rep. Kelly Townsend, spells out the scale the meters are to be used, how samples should be taken, and even the technical requirements for the type of sound meter that would have to be used.

It all stems from a series of excessive noise complaints against an Apache Junction restaurant.

Neighbors, armed with cellphone videos, have routinely filed extreme noise complaints against the Hitching Post restaurant and its outdoor bull riding attraction.

Mehmood Mohiuddin, the bar's owner, has claimed the videos are altered.

To make the noise nuisance laws stick on a statewide level, Townsend said cell phone video is too arbitrary and vague compared to a police operated calibrated sound meter.

"If you're going to charge somebody, they have to defend themselves and spend thousands of dollars," she warned fellow lawmakers and adding, "we don't want this happening on a he said-she said basis by somebody who's disgruntled."

The bill has pushback from other lawmakers and city leaders who wondered aloud who would pay for the meters, which could run upwards of $376 each.

The 5-1 vote passed the House Committee on Regulatory Affairs and now goes to the full House following routine constitutional review.

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Holliday Moore is a native Arizonan and veteran journalist who joined KJZZ’s news team in January 2017.Moore graduated from Arizona State University after double majoring in mass communications and marketing/management. She spent her first two decades reporting for television news, beginning in small markets and working up to congressional correspondent in Washington, D.C., for a political news service.Family commitments in Arizona brought her back to the Southwest, where she covered legislative and court beats for Albuquerque’s KRQE-TV and the infamous Four Corner Manhunt as KREZ-TV’s managing editor.Back home in Phoenix, she developed ABC15’s “Democracy Project,” now instituted at all Scripps’ news stations nationwide. Her work garnered “Best Practices” recognition by the Poynter Institute and the prestigious Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism.Her television reports, from sports to cultural issues, earned her multiple Emmy and Associated Press nominations, including a Rocky Mountain Emmy for her Hopi Partition Land Act coverage.As she started a family, Moore started her own media production agency, producing magazine-style travel stories for the Emmy-winning Arizona Highways Television show while working part time for a Valley radio station. She is convinced radio is where visual, sound, and print are merging through deeper storytelling. In her relatively short time with radio network affiliates, she has won four Edward R. Murrow Awards and multiple nominations from other professional news societies.Moore now teaches advanced broadcast writing to the next generation of reporters at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where a high percentage have gone on to receive national awards for their work in her class. She enjoys being back home near childhood friends and sharing the beautiful Arizona desert with her husband and young son.