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Amateur Radio Parity Act Set for House Energy and Commerce Committee Markup

06/22/2016

[UPDATED: 2016-06-23 @ 1408 UTC] The Amateur Radio Parity Act (H.R. 1301) is among five bills that the US House Energy and Commerce Committee has scheduled for a “full committee” markup. The markup session had been scheduled for June 23, but it was postponed after the committee, with most members absent, convened on June 22 for about 10 minutes to hear opening statements. When it meets again in July for the markup session, the panel, chaired by Rep Fred Upton (R-MI), will consider H.R. 1301 and an “Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 1301.” Earlier this month, the ARRL and the Community Associations Institute (CAI) — the national association of homeowners associations (HOAs) announced that they had reached consensus on the bill’s provisions. Rep Upton called H.R. 1301 “legislation to protect the rights of Amateur Radio operators,” in a statement he released on June 22.

“Just as the law recognizes that access to broadcast satellite communications are an important part of our national information infrastructure, so too should we recognize the role of Amateur Radio,” Upton wrote. “This is especially important as Amateur Radio operators can serve a crucial role in providing communications in the wake of natural disasters and other times when commercial communications networks might be unavailable. The underlying bill seeks to ensure that Amateur Radio operators are permitted to operate in deed-restricted communities. The amendment in the nature of a substitute under consideration represents a good-faith compromise between the two parties most impacted by this bill: Amateurs and community associations.”

Upton, who is not among the 126 cosponsors of H.R. 1301, said he was looking forward to advancing the five measures out of committee. The date of the rescheduled markup will be announced; committee sessions are streamed live.

According to ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, the substitute bill would guarantee that a radio amateur living in a deed-restricted community — including condominium or townhouse communities — could install and maintain an “effective outdoor antenna.” He said the agreement was achieved without disrupting 30 years of zoning case law that has interpreted the PRB-1 federal preemption and protected radio amateurs from overregulation by zoning authorities. The bill incorporates the basic tenets of PRB-1.

More information on the Amateur Radio Parity Act, including a copy of the complete substitute amendment agreed to by ARRL and CAI, is available on the ARRL website. 



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