ARRL

ARRL General Bulletin ARLB037 (2009)

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ARLB037 Amateur Radio Bill Passes Senate, Moves to the House

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ARRL Bulletin 37  ARLB037
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  December 16, 2009
To all radio amateurs 

SB QST ARL ARLB037
ARLB037 Amateur Radio Bill Passes Senate, Moves to the House

On Monday, December 14, S 1755 -- The Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications Enhancement Act of 2009 -- passed the Senate by
unanimous consent; the bill now goes to the House of Representatives
for consideration. Sponsored by Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT), and
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), S 1755, if passed, would direct the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to undertake a study on
emergency communications.

S 1755 points out that "There is a strong Federal interest in the
effective performance of Amateur Radio Service stations, and that
performance must be given -- (A) support at all levels of
government; and (B) protection against unreasonable regulation and
impediments to the provision of the valuable communications provided
by such stations."

Members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Committee considered S 1755 on December 10. After it passed through
Committee, it was placed on the Senate's calendar to be voted on.
"We are grateful to Committee Chairman Lieberman and Ranking Member
Collins for sponsoring the bill and arranging for its swift
consideration and passage by the Senate," said ARRL Chief Executive
Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ.

Similar in language to HR 2160 (also called The Amateur Radio
Emergency Communications Enhancement Act of 2009 that was introduced
this past April by Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee [D-TX-18]), S
1755 calls on DHS to undertake a study on the uses and capabilities
of Amateur Radio Service communications in emergencies and disaster
relief and then to submit a report to Congress no more than 180 days
after the bill becomes law. The study shall:

Include a review of the importance of Amateur Radio emergency
communications in furtherance of homeland security missions relating
to disasters, severe weather and other threats to lives and property
in the United States, as well as recommendations for enhancements in
the voluntary deployment of Amateur Radio licensees in disaster and
emergency communications and disaster relief efforts and improved
integration of Amateur Radio operators in planning and furtherance
of the Department of Homeland Security initiatives.

Identify impediments to enhanced Amateur Radio Service
communications, such as the effects of unreasonable or unnecessary
private land use regulations on residential antenna installations;
and make recommendations regarding such impediments for
consideration by other federal departments, agencies and Congress.

In conducting the study, S 1755 directs the Secretary of Homeland
Security to "utilize the expertise of stakeholder entities and
organizations, including the Amateur Radio, emergency response and
disaster communications communities."

S 1755 makes note of the fact that Section 1 of the Joint Resolution
entitled Joint Resolution to Recognize the Achievements of Radio
Amateurs, and To Establish Support for Such Amateurs as National
Policy -- approved October 22, 1994 (Public Law 103-408) -- included
a finding that stated: "Reasonable accommodation should be made for
the effective operation of Amateur Radio from residences, private
vehicles and public areas, and the regulation at all levels of
government should facilitate and encourage amateur radio operations
as a public benefit."

The bill also pointed out that Section 1805(c) of the Homeland
Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 757(c)) directs the Regional
Emergency Communications Coordinating Working Group of the
Department of Homeland Security to coordinate their activities with
ham and Amateur Radio operators among the 11 other emergency
organizations, such as ambulance services, law enforcement and
others.
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