Amateur Radio Parity Act Passes Senate Committee, Gains Cosponsors
The Amateur Radio Parity Act S. 1685 has been endorsed by the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. In the voice vote on November 18, two Senators — Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) — asked to be recorded as voting “no.” The Committee held an executive session to consider the various legislative measures and nominations.
“Our work is not finished on the Senate side of Capitol Hill, although this is a huge step forward,” said ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN. She urged ARRL members to continue to write, call and e-mail their Senators about S. 1685 to build up its support for the future. “We know that members’ response to the call for a communications blast last week made all the difference for some Senators on the committee.”
S. 1685 picked up another Senate cosponsor on November 18, when Sen Jerry Moran (R-KS), who sits on the Commerce Committee, has signed aboard the bill. “ARRL members in Kansas should contact his office to say thanks,” President Craigie said. “Having an additional cosponsor who’s on the Committee is especially good news.”
On hand to observe the Committee mark-up session were ARRL Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, and ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD.
President Craigie encouraged ARRL members in Florida and Hawaii to keep contacting Senators Schatz and Nelson, urging them to change their minds about the legislation. “Don't be harsh or angry,” she advised. “Keep it factual and courteous, and don't give up.”
On November 5, US Sen Al Franken (D-MN) signed on as the second cosponsor of S. 1685. That legislation and its US House twin, H.R. 1301, call on the FCC to extend the limited federal pre-emption of PRB-1 to cover private land-use restrictions such as deed covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). If the legislation becomes law, radio amateurs living in antenna-restricted communities would have the opportunity to negotiate with homeowners associations to install an antenna that reasonably accommodates Amateur Radio communication.
H.R. 1301 has 114 cosponsors as of November 18. President Craigie said ARRL members should continue to urge their Representatives to cosponsor H.R. 1301 and to thank those who already have signed on.
The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 page on the ARRL website has more information on how you can become involved.