Guyed Tower Legislation in Idaho to Exclude Amateur Radio Towers
On April 1, Idaho Governor C. L. “Butch” Otter (R) signed Senate Bill 1065 into law. This new law is amendment to a current Idaho law regarding guyed towers, which states that guyed towers “shall be lighted, marked and painted or otherwise constructed to be visible in clear air during daylight hours from a distance of not less than 2000 feet.” With the passage of SB 1065, both guyed Amateur Radio and CB antenna support structures are exempt from these regulations.
According to ARRL Idaho Section Manager Ed Stuckey, AI7H, Governor Otter signed the original legislation into law in 2012, but there was an exemption for telecommunications towers. “This year, we went back [to the legislature] to specifically define Amateur Radio towers as one of the types of telecommunications towers,” he said, “ARRL Idaho Section Government Liaison Rex Green, K7DMV, put a huge amount of effort into firming up the groundwork behind the legislation. We also had the good fortune to have Senator Lee Heider, KE7GAG, take an interest in the legislation, and he acted as the Senate sponsor for the bill.”
Green told the ARRL that quite a few hams in Senator Heider’s district contacted the senator about the amendment. “These hams asked Senator Heider to carry the amendment that would clarify that Amateur Radio towers would be included in the telecommunications exemption,” he told the ARRL. “As the ARRL Idaho State Government Liaison, I contacted the Idaho Division of Aeronautics and others to explain our position and gain their support. The letter of support from the Administrator of the Idaho Division of Aeronautics opened a lot of doors for us and was critical to the amendment’s passage.”
Idaho Section leadership supported Senator Heider at the meetings of Idaho’s House and Senate Transportation Committees, providing with examples of why the exemption for Amateur Radio towers was needed. “I feel without Senator Heider’s support, we would have had a difficult time in getting traction for our proposal,” Green said. “The sponsors of last year’s legislation were not exactly supportive of any exemptions, but once we explained to the committees that we had the support of the low altitude aviation operators, such as crop dusters, then we were able to move ahead.”
The bill passed the Senate with unanimous approval before going to the House, where it passed with a 62-3 vote.