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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB014 (1997)

ARLB014 Ham radio Volunteer Services bill introduced

ARRL Bulletin 14  ARLB014
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  March 14, 1997
To all radio amateurs

ARLB014 Ham radio Volunteer Services bill introduced

Good news for ham radio volunteers: the Amateur Radio Volunteer
Services Act of 1997 (HR 1013)--introduced this week by US Rep Anna
Eshoo of California. If enacted, the bill would place volunteers in
the Volunteer Examination Program and the Amateur Auxiliary under
the protections of the Federal Tort Claims Act by affording them the
same legal protections as employees of the Federal Government while
they're carrying out such volunteer duties. ''This bill would help
protect the personal liability of volunteer Amateur Radio operators
while performing duties on behalf of the Federal Government,'' Eshoo
said in introducing the measure. As she explained it on the House
floor, it's simply a question of fairness for volunteers, who risk
damaging lawsuits while saving the government time and money. The
bill was introduced with 21 cosponsors hailing from both parties.

HR 1013 is nearly identical to a bill introduced last year but not
enacted and similar to a unanimously accepted amendment to the FCC
reauthorization bill that Eshoo herself offered last year in the
Commerce Committee.

On the House floor, Eshoo outlined the rationale behind the Amateur
Radio Volunteer Services Act of 1997 in these words, and urged her
colleagues to support the bill:

''Amateur Radio operators are self-regulated, with volunteer
operators monitoring the airwaves  for violations and administering
licensing exams. This volunteer corps saves countless hours of
staff time and resources for the Federal Communications Commission;
however, because they are not Federal employees, they put their
personal assets at risk in the event of  actions taken against them
as a result of their volunteer service to the Government.''

''It is simply unfair that these volunteers who are saving the
Government time and resources  should have to risk their personal
assets in carrying out their service. The Amateur Radio Volunteer
Services Act would classify those individuals donating their time
and expertise to maintaining the quality of the Amateur Radio
airwaves as Federal employees only for the purpose of actions taken
against them in the performance of their duties as self-regulators.
This action will ensure the continued viability of the amateur radio
community and continue to save the FCC and the Federal Government
time and money that would otherwise need to be expended.''


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