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The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 Introduced in the US Senate


[UPDATED 2015-06-29 1937 UTC] A companion Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 bill has been introduced in the US Senate. Mississippi Republican Sen Roger Wicker introduced S. 1685 on June 25, with Sen Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat of Connecticut, as the initial cosponsor. The Senate bill joins an identical measure in the US House, H.R. 1301, which was introduced in March. Both measures would direct the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land-use restrictions. 

“Introduction of the Senate bill is a huge step toward achieving fairness for amateurs affected by private land-use regulation,” said ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN. “For them and for the future of Amateur Radio, I thank everyone who contributed to making this progress. Now let's finish the job!”

In a June 29 media release from his office, Wicker said the legislation he and Blumenthal have sponsored in the US Senate would “ensure that our nation’s Amateur Radio operators can continue to provide critical communications support at no cost to taxpayers” and would be especially beneficial in his home state and other rural states during natural disasters, such as hurricanes.

“This measure ensures ‎increased access to, and availability of, critical resources and communication tools to our integral first-responders,” Wicker said. Added Blumenthal, “We have seen the effectiveness of these systems, and the need to provide these emergency response systems to Americans, regardless of where you live, is evident.”

Wicker pointed out that private land-use restrictions restrict many radio amateurs from installing functional outdoor antennas. “This bill would call on FCC to apply the reasonable accommodation policy evenly to all types of residential land use regulations,” Wicker said, “and offer Amateur Radio operators the ability to negotiate with subdivisions that now have restrictions that preclude Amateur Radio antennas completely.”

He said this could be accomplished “without taking any jurisdiction away from homeowners associations and would protect neighborhood aesthetics.”

After two readings, S. 1685 was referred to the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, chaired by Sen John Thune (R-SD).

The House version of The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 has attracted support from 83 cosponsors, as of June 26.





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