List of “Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014” Co-Sponsors Swells Before Congressional Recess
An intense effort during the few days in September that Congress was in session has resulted in 47 co-sponsors for the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014 (H.R. 4969). Another half-dozen or so US House Members have indicated that they will sign aboard when Congress returns, something they can do only while Congress is in session. Congress went into recess on September 19. ARRL Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, Central Division Director Dick Isely, W9GIG, ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, and ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, visited dozens of congressional offices this month. Elsewhere, other ARRL elected and appointed officials and members from across the US met with members of Congress and with their staffers, wrote letters, and made phone calls to urge co-sponsorship.
“This all-member effort is how we went from 17 co-sponsors on August 1 to 47 co-sponsors on September 18,” Craigie said this week. When Congress reconvenes in November, League representatives plan to follow up with US House members who did not have time to make their co-sponsorship official before Congress left town.
The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014, introduced in the US House of Representatives with bipartisan support in late June, calls 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. 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.
President Craigie stressed this week that H.R. 4969 is still very much alive, and she urged League members to keep working to convince their representatives to co-sponsor the bill. “These efforts will not be in vain, whether or not the legislator eventually decides to sign onto the bill,” she said. “Realistically, we won’t get support for H.R. 4969 from every member of Congress who is contacted by Amateurs,” she said. At the same time, members of Congress who were contacted now know that Amateur Radio exists in their districts and that hams have interests that deserve notice.
“A lot of politics is based on relationships. Contacts made with members of Congress about H.R. 4969 contribute to establishing relationships that can be maintained and enhanced in the future,” Craigie said. “Does your Congressman know how Amateur Radio makes your district a safer place to live if disasters occur? Does your Congressman know how radio amateurs in your district introduce young people to hands-on experience of wireless communication, laying the foundation for careers? What we certainly can do is to build relationships that will serve our interests — and the public interest — if not right now, then in the future.”
President Craigie encouraged League members whose representatives have become co-sponsors to thank their lawmakers, on the phone or in writing. “It’s good manners and a good relationship-building strategy,” she pointed out. “Members can also seek out opportunities during the current congressional recess to make a case for the bill at their representatives’ district offices and at events. In short: Keep on!”