“Amateur Radio Parity Act” Campaign Will Resume in New Congress
Largely as the result of a grassroots campaign, “The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014” (H.R. 4969) attracted the support of 69 members of the US House of Representatives in addition to that of its sponsor, Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). While the soon-to-adjourn 113th Congress did not enact the bill, the effort to gain passage of the legislation will resume anew when the 114th Congress convenes in January. Introduced with bipartisan support last June, H.R. 4969 called on the FCC to apply the “reasonable accommodation” three-part test of the PRB-1 federal pre-emption policy to private land-use restrictions regarding antennas. The limited PRB-1 pre-emption currently applies only to state and municipal land-use ordinances. The FCC has indicated its reluctance to provide the same legal protections from private land-use agreements — often called covenants, conditions, and restrictions or CC&Rs — without direction from Congress. ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, this week stressed that the fight is not over.
“While we are disappointed that the bill did not make it through the process during the session, the effort was extremely energized by the efforts of thousands of ARRL members who participated in our grassroots lobbying effort,” Henderson said. “In just 6 short months we gained tremendous traction for the Amateur Radio Parity Act.”
Henderson explained that sometime after the new Congress is called into session in January, a new “Amateur Radio Parity Act” bill with a new number will be introduced into the US House. “Once this happens, the ARRL will gear up for a fresh effort to push this legislation forward,” he added.
In a note to ARRL Section Managers this week, ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, thanked Section leaders and Field Organization volunteers on behalf of the ARRL Board of Directors and Headquarters staff for their help in garnering legislative support for H.R. 4969. “We had hoped to gain 30 co-sponsors for the bill and ultimately ended up with 69, plus the sponsor,” Sumner noted. “The overwhelming majority of these 70 supporters are returning in January, which gives us a good base on which to grow additional support.”
Sumner said the objective for 2015 is to continue the momentum, gathering enough support to move the bill through the Energy and Commerce Committee. “We have received expressions of interest from the Senate side and are hoping to have the bill introduced there as well,” he added.
Henderson said the bill would not have attained its current level of support in the US House without the thousands of letters and phone calls made by ARRL members to their congressional representatives. “The success of this crucial issue relies on the efforts of all radio amateurs and ARRL members,” he said. “We know you will step forward in the new year, when we renew our efforts on Capitol Hill.”
The ARRL has developed an H.R. 4969 web page that provides additional information on this subject.