ARRL Requests Support for Senate Bill 1755
Senate Bill 1755 -- The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act of 2009 introduced in October 2009 by Senators Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) -- has unanimously passed the US Senate and has been sent to the US House of Representatives for consideration and now sits in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The ARRL is asking its membership to contact the leadership of the Energy and Commerce committee, requesting support and action on moving S 1755 through the committee. S 1755 accomplishes the same things as HR 2160; HR 2160 was introduced in April 2009 by Rep Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18). Since S 1755 has already been approved by the Senate, moving it forward in the House will simplify the process.
S 1755 points out that "[t]here is a strong Federal interest in the effective performance of Amateur Radio Service stations, and that performance must be given -- (A) support at all levels of government; and (B) protection against unreasonable regulation and impediments to the provision of the valuable communications provided by such stations."
If enacted into law, S 1755 would instruct the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to undertake a study -- and report its findings to Congress within 180 days -- on the uses and capabilities of Amateur Radio communications in emergencies and disaster relief.
The study shall:
- Include recommendations for enhancements in the voluntary deployment of Amateur Radio licensees in disaster and emergency communications and disaster relief efforts.
- Include recommendations for improved integration of Amateur Radio operators in planning and in furtherance of the Department of Homeland Security initiatives.
- Identify unreasonable or unnecessary impediments to enhanced Amateur Radio communications, such as the effects of private land use regulations on residential antenna installations, and make recommendations regarding such impediments.
- Include an evaluation of Section 207 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-104, 110 Stat. 56 (1996)).
- Recommend whether Section 207 should be modified to prevent unreasonable private land use restrictions that impair the ability of amateurs to conduct, or prepare to conduct, emergency communications by means of effective outdoor antennas and support structures at reasonable heights and dimensions for the purpose, in residential areas. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall utilize the expertise of stakeholder entities and organizations, including Amateur Radio, emergency response and disaster communications.
Please contact Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA-30) and Ranking Member Joe Barton (R-TX-6), urging them to send this bipartisan bill to the House floor for adoption. A sample letter can be found here. Send your letters urging consideration of S 1755 by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to Rep Waxman via fax at 202-225-2525, and to Rep Barton via fax at 202-225-1919. Also, please fax a copy of your letters to the ARRL's Washington representative, Chwat & Co at 703-684-7594.
For more information on S 1755, please visit the ARRL Government Relations Web page.