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Payroll Tax Bill Includes Provision for Amateur Radio Study

02/17/2012

A bill that passed both the House and the Senate today includes a provision for a study of the uses and capabilities of Amateur Radio Service communications in emergencies and disaster relief.

If passed into law, Section 6414 (see below for text) of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 mandates the completion of the study, with a report of the findings to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. This study would “use the expertise of stakeholder entities and organizations” to recommend how to best use radio amateurs in emergency communications and disaster relief efforts, and how to best utilize the Amateur Radio Service in coordination with the federal government in these efforts. In addition, the study would also discuss the effects of unreasonable or unnecessary private land use restrictions on residential antenna installations and recommend ways to remove such impediments.

The bill passed the House with a 293-132 victory. In the Senate, it passed by a 60-36 vote. According to the Los Angeles Times, President Obama is expected to sign the bill "quickly." 

Click on the link below for the complete text of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. Section 6414 begins on page 212.

Section 6414: Study on Emergency Communications by Amateur Radio and Impediments to Amateur Radio Communications

  • (a) In General: Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Commission [FCC], in consultation with the Office of Emergency Communications in the Department of Homeland Security, shall:
    • (1) complete a study on the uses and capabilities of Amateur Radio Service communications in emergencies and disaster relief; and
    • (2) submit to the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate a report on the findings of such study.
  • (b) Contents: The study required by subsection (a) shall include:
    • (1)(A) a review of the importance of emergency Amateur Radio Service communications relating to disasters, severe weather, and other threats to lives and property in the United States; and
      • (B) recommendations for:
        • (i) enhancements in the voluntary deployment of Amateur Radio operators in disaster and emergency communications and disaster relief efforts; and
        • (ii) improved integration of Amateur Radio operators in the planning and furtherance of initiatives of the Federal Government; and
    • (2)(A) an identification of impediments to enhanced Amateur Radio Service communications, such as the effects of unreasonable or unnecessary private land use restrictions on residential antenna installations; and
      • (B) recommendations regarding the removal of such impediments.
  • (c) Expertise: In conducting the study required by subsection (a), the Commission shall use the expertise of stakeholder entities and organizations, including the Amateur Radio, emergency response, and disaster communications communities.


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