Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 Introduced in Congress
“The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015” — H.R.1301 — has been introduced in the US House of Representatives. The measure would direct the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land use restrictions. US Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) introduced the bill March 4 with 12 original co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle — seven Republicans and five Democrats. Kinzinger also sponsored “The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014, which died at the end of the 113th Congress. H.R. 1301 is an essentially identical piece of legislation.
“The introduction of H.R. 1301 with so many original co-sponsors, so early in this session of Congress, is very encouraging,” said ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN. “Several additional members of Congress already have agreed to be co-sponsors. This bill has momentum, but introduction is only the first step. Many of the next steps will be taken as ARRL members contact their US Representatives urging co-sponsorship and thanking them as they sign on to the bill.”
If Congress approves the legislation, and it is signed by the president, H.R. 1301 would require the FCC to amend its Part 97 Amateur Service rules to apply the three-part test of the PRB-1 federal pre-emption policy to include homeowners’ association regulations and deed restrictions, often referred to as “covenants, conditions, and restrictions” (CC&Rs). At present, PRB-1 only applies to state and local zoning laws and ordinances. The FCC has been reluctant to extend the same legal protections to include such private land-use agreements without direction from Congress.
H.R. 1301 has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI (R-OR), chairs that panel’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee, which will consider the measure. The League had worked with Walden on the 2014 bill during the 113th Congress.
Among H.R. 1301 initial co-sponsors is Rep Joe Courtney (D-CT), who attended the ARRL National Centennial Convention last summer to speak with League officials and those attending the event about the earlier bill.
Craigie encouraged ARRL members to urge their US House members to sign on to the bill as a co-sponsor. The ARRL has an H.R. 1301 resources page on its website. If the House member is already a co-sponsor, call the member’s local office or send an e-mail via the member’s official website to express their thanks. She called on League members to encourage other hams to do the same, and to be sure to refer to the bill by its number, H.R. 1301.
“Remember what those pile-ups on the W1AW portable stations sounded like last year?” Craigie said. “Let’s be that avid in calling for even greater support in Congress for this essential legislation.”