SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth is looking to turn down the volume on noisy cars. The senator says Senate Bill 48 isn’t telling anyone they have to do anything with their cars just yet. He says all it does is give local governments in counties with large cities the option to make laws about noisy cars.

“Vehicle noise has been a huge issue in Santa Fe; I know it’s an issue in Albuquerque as well. And this is designed to allow those local governments to require inspections of vehicles and basically give motor vehicles the ability to deny a registration if someone hasn’t gone through the inspection,” Wirth says. He says the hope here is that people will figure out whether their car has a violation or a problem and get it fixed so that larger cities can address the noise issue.

This is something that has come up recently in Albuquerque when city council approved a pilot program to put up noise cameras in December. Those would be triggered if a car is too loud and send out a ticket.

“The key thing here, it doesn’t tell anyone to do anything. It just gives the local governments the option of putting in place an ordinance,” Wirth says.

This bill only applies to ‘Class A’ counties with larger cities right now, but Wirth says if interest grows they would look at expanding it.

In the Senate Tax, Business, and Transportation Committee, the discussion over this bill was contentious – some lawmakers questioning how this would impact low-income communities; others saying it was too broad in what it could allow local governments to do. It initially did not pass this committee on a 4 to 5 vote.

A motion was made to send it to the Senate Judiciary Committee with no recommendation; that passed on a 7 to 2 vote.