Amateur Radio Parity Act Continues to Gain Traction in US House
It’s full steam ahead for the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015, as the House version of the bill, H.R. 1301, now has 112 cosponsors and counting. The House bill and its identical US Senate measure, S. 1685, call on the FCC to amend its regulations to extend the limited PRB-1 federal preemption regarding Amateur Radio antennas to include private land-use restrictions such as deed covenant, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). Homeowners associations would need to apply the minimum practicable restriction to accommodate Amateur Radio communication. ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, said the League is continuing to receive and forward stacks of letters generated at hamfests and conventions and destined for members of the US House and Senate.
“All members are encouraged to go ahead and write their own letters to be sent via ARRL Headquarters,” President Craigie said. “They don’t have to wait for a hamfest or convention. Get the letters done now, before the holidays take over everyone’s time and attention. Members’ letters are absolutely essential to the success of this legislation. Everything you can do to drum up letters from your local area is an important part of the overall advocacy program. As I’ve said before, this is a full-team effort, and every member’s action makes a difference.”
ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, said the League has delivered another 3000 member letters urging lawmakers to support the bills to its team in Washington, bringing the total to nearly 14,000. “We have delivered letters to all 100 members of the Senate and 430 of the 441 members and non-voting delegates in the House,” Henderson said. And those letters matter.
“Our DC team walked into a congresswoman’s office a couple of weeks ago with our strong arguments and 30 letters from constituents,” he said “She signed on to the bill last week. They do care about what their constituents say is important to them.”
ARRL Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, said he and ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, visited about 40 lawmakers’ offices on Capitol Hill during 4 days in October, and he’s very confident in how the grassroots campaign is going. “The response we’ve been getting overall is very positive across the board,” Lisenco said. “We feel very good about it.”
Henderson explained that the next stage would be to schedule the draft legislation for “markup,” during which various committee members will have an opportunity to “fine tune” the bill into the form that will be actually considered for a vote.
There is still only the original cosponsor on the US Senate bill, but Henderson said the Senate operates a bit differently from the House with respect to cosponsors. Lisenco said he anticipates at least one Senate member to sign on to the bill soon. President Craigie stressed that it’s important for members to write their US Senators as well as their US Representatives, to gain support from members of the upper chamber.
“Letters have been received by every Senator, but we would like to see offices on that side of the Hill stacked high so high with letters that the workers can scarcely find their desks,” President Craigie said. She suggested a “Senate letter-writing party” at the next club meeting.
Lisenco said that in addition to writing a letter, ARRL members should consider e-mailing or even calling their US House and Senate lawmakers to urge their support. If the Member of Congress already has signed on to the bill, he said, members should contact their lawmakers to express their thanks.
H.R. 1301 has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. US Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI (R-OR), chairs that panel’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, which will consider the measure. S. 1685 has been referred to the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee's subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet, which is chaired by the bill’s sponsor, US Sen Roger Wicker (R-MS).
Visit the Amateur Radio Parity Act page for more information and to learn how you can help.