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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB019 (1996)

ARLB019 Bill seeks protection

ARRL Bulletin 19  ARLB019
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  April 2, 1996
To all radio amateurs

ARLB019 Bill seeks protection

Rep. Bill Baker (R-California) has introduced a bill to protect ham
volunteers in the Volunteer Examination program and the Amateur
Auxiliary of the FCC from frivolous lawsuits while they are doing
their volunteer jobs.  The bill, HR 3207, would afford amateurs
engaged in statutorily defined activities with the VE program and
with the Amateur Auxiliary the same liability as federal workers
under the Federal Tort Claims Act.  When individuals who fall under
such protection are sued for something they have done while
performing their duties, the Federal government steps in to protect
them.  Baker introduced the measure, the Amateur Radio Volunteer
Services Act of 1996, March 29, 1996, as an amendment to the
Communications Act.

While the bill would not afford absolute blanket immunity, it does
offer a fairly rigorous body of legal protection from the kind of
malicious litigation that tends to frighten volunteers away from
these activities, said ARRL Legislative and Public Affairs Manager
Steve Mansfield, N1MZA.

Baker said that Amateur Radio volunteers provide an invaluable
service to all ham radio operators by assisting in licensing and
monitoring activities, thus saving taxpayer dollars.  Those savings
would dry up if volunteers stay away for fear of lawsuits, Baker
said in a letter to colleagues.  The bill is a simplified version of
legislation originally introduced in the 103rd Congress by Rep. Jim
Slattery.  Individuals and private organizations currently protected
by the Federal Tort Claims Act include Volunteers in Service to
America (VISTA), the Peace Corps and the Job Corps.

Baker has enlisted members of both parties as original cosponsors of
the bill.  These include: Charles Wilson (D-TX); Bob Wise (D-WV);
Edolphus Townes (D-NY); Mike Parker (R-MS); Toby Roth (R-WI);
Charles Taylor (R-NC); Ron Dellums (D-CA); David Funderburk, K4TPJ,
(R-NC); Ed Royce (R-CA); Norman Dicks (D-WA); Vern Ehlers (R-MI);
Chris Cox (R-CA); Andrew Jacobs (D-IN); Harold Rogers (R-KY); Dennis
Hastert (R-IL); Dave Weldon (R-FL); Anna Eshoo (D-CA); Ken Calvert
(R-CA); Doug Bereuter (R-NE); Gene Green (D-TX); George E. Brown
(D-CA); Eva Clayton (D-NC); and Sam Farr (D-CA).

ARRL members may want to write their own Congressional
Representatives urging them to support HR 3207.


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