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Crunch Time: Letters Urging House Members to Support H.R. 4969 Due at Headquarters by September 12

09/10/2014

Constituent letters urging members of the US House of Representatives to co-sponsor H.R. 4969, the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014, need to arrive at ARRL Headquarters by Friday, September 12, for forwarding to Congress. ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, said the last legislative day for the fall is Friday, September 19, and Congress will not be back in session again until after the mid-term elections on November 4.

“It is definitely crunch time!” Henderson said. “We need to get letters urging support to the appropriate members of the US House of Representatives by next week. Members of the ARRL team have been in Washington, DC, this week, making contact with members of Congress while they are still in session.”

Letters directed for forwarding to US House of Representatives members via the ARRL Headquarters will be printed beforehand. Henderson explained that this approach speeds delivery, since individual pieces of mail to members of Congress are scanned for threats.

As of September 10, 31 co-sponsors had signed on to H.R. 4969. The list includes 21 Republicans and 10 Democrats. Henderson emphasized that a successful outcome requires as many co-sponsors as possible, and that’s where ARRL members can help, in their role as voters and constituents. “The more noise we make, the better our chances for the bill’s passage.”

Henderson stressed that all letters must include the constituent’s name and mailing address, and they must be signed. He reiterated that the current campaign in support of H.R. 4969 only targets members of the US House and not the US Senate.

The League's HR.4969 page contains information and guidance for clubs and individuals promoting efforts to gain co-sponsors for the measure by contacting their members of Congress. The web page includes a sample letter to a Member of Congress and a list of “talking points.” Direct letters to H.R. 4969 Letter Campaign, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. If e-mailing your letter as an attachment, include the bill’s number, HR.4969, in your subject line. Letters may also be faxed to 860-594-0259.

While Congress was on break for the month of August, the League encouraged members to meet with their representatives while they are home on break in their districts, and urge their support for HR.4969, Henderson said.

The bill, which was introduced in the US House of Representatives with bipartisan support in late June, would call 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. Its primary sponsor was Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), and it received initial co-sponsorship from Rep Joe Courtney (D-CT).

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.

HR.4969 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.



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