Fight To Overcome Antenna Restrictions – page 2

UPDATE January 12, 2016

Subcommittee Chair, H.R. 1301 Sponsor Testify on Behalf of Amateur Radio Parity Act

During a January 12 Capitol Hill hearing, US House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chair Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI (R-OR), called the Amateur Radio Parity Act “a commonsense bill” and urged his colleagues to support it. H.R. 1301 was one of four telecoms bills that came before his panel.

“As a ham radio operator, I’m acutely aware of the passion that Amateur Radio operators have for their service,” Walden told the subcommittee. “Despite its widespread use and importance in times of emergencies, land-use restrictions in some areas have prioritized esthetics over the rights of hams. H.R. 1301 seeks to ensure that Amateur Radio operators get a fair shake and protection from unnecessary bans on their equipment by instructing the FCC to adopt rules to this end.”

Walden said he’s aware of suggestions that the bill would open the door to 40 foot towers in townhome backyards. “That’s not the case,” he assured his subcommittee colleagues. “Ham equipment can be as small as over-the-air digital television antennas becoming popular with ‘cord cutters.’ I’m sure that Amateur Radio operators’ communications deserve no less protection than access to prime time television.”

In his remarks, the bill’s sponsor, Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), pointed out that most House members have a few hundred radio amateurs living in their districts. He explained that hams in some neighborhoods “are outright prohibited” from erecting antennas on their properties, “even as small as a 4 millimeter diameter wire that might be placed under an awning or laid flat against the house.”

Kinzinger cited Amateur Radio’s role in emergency communication support and noted the comments of FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, KK4INZ, to the effect that when conventional communication systems go down, Amateur Radio is often the last line of defense.

Kinzinger said his bill’s “reasonable accommodation standard” would not mandate placement, size, or esthetics regarding an outdoor antenna, leaving ham radio operators and homeowners associations to decide those issues.

“We just simply add the same standard that has been used successfully in municipal areas to other areas,” he concluded.

HR 1301 would direct the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land-use restrictions, such as deed covenants, conditions, and restrictions. The bill has attracted 116 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle. An identical US Senate measure, S. 1685, has attracted 3 cosponsors. It cleared the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation last November.

More information about the legislation is on the ARRL Amateur Radio Parity Act web page.


UPDATE January 12, 2016

ARLB002 Amateur Radio Parity Act HR 1301 to Get House Subcommittee Airing

QST de W1AW
ARRL Bulletin 2  ARLB002 (edited for this website)
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  January 12, 2016

To all radio amateurs

HR 1301, the US House version of the Amateur Radio Parity Act, will be among four communications-related measures set for a legislative hearing on January 12 before the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. Chairing the panel is US Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI, an Oregon Republican.

“This New Year we resolve to continue working to protect America’s consumers and small businesses,” Walden is quoted in a Subcommittee news release. “These bills collectively seek to protect folks from the inappropriate applications of law and misuse of 21st century technology.”

Sponsored by US Rep Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, HR 1301 would direct the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land-use restrictions, such as deed covenants, conditions, and restrictions.

The bill has attracted 116 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle.

While no one from the ARRL is scheduled to testify in support of the measure, ARRL Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, and ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, are expected to be on hand for the session. The League directly contacted ARRL members in the districts represented on the subcommittee, asking them to contact their members of Congress and urge their support of the bill.

The US Senate version of the Amateur Radio Parity Act, S. 1685, cleared the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation last November. It has 3 cosponsors.

There is more information about the bills on the ARRL Amateur Radio Parity Act web page, located at,http://www.arrl.org/amateur-radio-parity-act .

NNNN


UPDATE December 2, 2015

US Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI, Among Latest Amateur Radio Parity Act Cosponsors

US Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI (R-OR), is among the latest House members to sign on as an Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 cosponsor. One of the few radio amateurs in the Congress, Walden chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, which will hear H.R. 1301, the House version of the legislation. As of November 30, there were 117 cosponsors in the US House and 3 cosponsors for S. 1685, the US Senate bill, which cleared the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on November 18. ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, said cosponsorship by Walden, the subcommittee chair, is a highlight of the bill’s progress in the House.

“Rep Walden and his subcommittee staff have been very helpful all along the way,” she added. President Craigie also said it’s important that ARRL members continue to write, call, or e-mail their members of Congress, including those who already have become cosponsors.

“We want the members of Congress who signed on months ago to be reminded periodically that their help is important and appreciated by constituents,” President Craigie said. “Keeping Capitol Hill’s attention is not a one-and-done thing. Thanking our supporters is both good manners and good strategy.”

Other US House members who became H.R. 1301 cosponsors in November include three from Texas and two from Wisconsin: Reps Ron Kind (D-WI), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Gene Green (D-TX), Sam Johnson (R-TX), and Vela Filemon (D-TX)

The bill calls on the FCC to apply its “reasonable accommodation” standard to private land use restrictions. It would offer Amateur Radio operators the ability to negotiate with subdivisions that now preclude outdoor ham antennas to install an antenna.


UPDATE November 19, 2015

Amateur Radio Parity Act Passes Senate Committee, Gains Cosponsors

The Amateur Radio Parity Act S. 1685 has been endorsed by the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. In the voice vote on November 18, two Senators — Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) — asked to be recorded as voting “no.” The Committee held an executive session to consider the various legislative measures and nominations.

“Our work is not finished on the Senate side of Capitol Hill, although this is a huge step forward,” said ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN.  She urged ARRL members to continue to write, call and e-mail their Senators about S. 1685 to build up its support for the future. “We know that members’ response to the call for a communications blast last week made all the difference for some Senators on the committee.”

S. 1685 picked up another Senate cosponsor on November 18, when Sen Jerry Moran (R-KS), who sits on the Commerce Committee, has signed aboard the bill. “ARRL members in Kansas should contact his office to say thanks,” President Craigie said. “Having an additional cosponsor who’s on the Committee is especially good news.”

On hand to observe the Committee mark-up session were ARRL Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, and ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD.

President Craigie encouraged ARRL members in Florida and Hawaii to keep contacting Senators Schatz and Nelson, urging them to change their minds about the legislation. “Don’t be harsh or angry,” she advised. “Keep it factual and courteous, and don’t give up.”

On November 5, US Sen Al Franken (D-MN) signed on as the second cosponsor of S. 1685. That legislation and its US House twin, H.R. 1301, call on the FCC to extend the limited federal pre-emption of PRB-1 to cover private land-use restrictions such as deed covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). If the legislation becomes law, radio amateurs living in antenna-restricted communities would have the opportunity to negotiate with homeowners associations to install an antenna that reasonably accommodates Amateur Radio communication.

H.R. 1301 has 114 cosponsors as of November 18. President Craigie said ARRL members should continue to urge their Representatives to cosponsor H.R. 1301 and to thank those who already have signed on.

The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 page on the ARRL website has more information on how you can become involved.


UPDATE November 12, 2015

Our people in Washington, D.C. just left Senator Nelson’s office and reported that he is on the fence about whether to support Senate Bill 1685, the Amateur Radio Parity Act (ARPA), or not.

Senator Nelson is the ranking minority party member on the committee and carries a good deal of influence.

It is URGENT that we barrage the Senator’s Washington office with phone calls asking for his support of Senate Bill 1685.

The number to call for Senator Nelson’s office is: 202-224-5274

I just made the call and it will only take a minute or two. When the staffer answers, tell them that you would like to ask for Senator Nelson’s support of Senate Bill 1685, the Amateur Radio Parity Act.

They will ask you for your zip code, record your support of S. 1685, and thank you for contacting them.

More information on the ARPA can be found at:

http://www.arrl.org/amateur-radio-parity-act

Even if you have already sent an email to Senator Nelson, PLEASE make a phone call. If you haven’t contacted the Florida Senators (both are on the committee) as asked for in my email yesterday, please take a couple of minutes and do so. If you have already done so—Thank You!

As always, please send a short email to congress@arrlse.org to let me know you made the phone call. That lets us have an idea of the number of contacts made. I’ll apologize in advance that I won’t be able to personally respond to the emails, but I will read every single one.

Please spread this message far and wide to amateurs within Florida.

Thanks & 73,

Doug
K4AC


UPDATE November 11, 2015

IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED: S.1685 The Amateur Radio Parity Act

It appears that the Bill will come up in committee for a vote next week.

Both of our Florida Senators are on the committee and we need to have as many emails or phone calls made to them requesting their support for the Bill as possible.

Please contact Senator Nelson and Senator Rubio today by telephone or e-mail with the following simple message:

“I’m a constituent and an amateur radio operator. I am calling to urge the Senator to support S. 1685, the Amateur Radio Parity Act, when it comes  up for a vote in committee on November 18th. Thank you.”

Senator Nelson:

https://www.billnelson.senate.gov/contact-bill (Select “Telecommunications” for the issue and type “S. 1685, the Amateur Radio Parity Act” for the subject) Phone Number if you prefer to call: 202-224-5274

Senator Rubio:

http://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact (Select “Telecommunications” for the topic and type “S. 1685, the Amateur Radio Parity Act” for the subject) Phone Number if you prefer to call: 202-224-3041.

***Please forward this to ALL Florida amateurs ASAP, including club reflectors***

Let me know if you send an email or call by emailing me at congress@arrlse.org. Copying your comments to the Senators on the form and pasting them into the email to congress@arrlse.org would be especially appreciated.

73,

Doug
K4AC


UPDATE November 11, 2015

ARRL President Urges “Blast of Support” for Senate Version of Amateur Radio Parity Act

ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, has issued an urgent call for League Members to contact Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation members representing their states to urge their support of S. 1685, the US Senate version of the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015. President Craigie said the bill could be scheduled for mark-up in the committee as early as next week, and that opponents to S. 1685 have been rallying their supporters. She said the ARRL and its legislative consultants on Capitol Hill “are hard at work” to ensure that the mark-up goes favorably. President Craigie called for “a blast of support for the bill” from ARRL members living in states that committee members represent.

“We learned this morning that opponents of the legislation have asked their people to contact Senators on the committee to communicate what can only be called bald-faced lies about the legislation’s intent and effects,” President Craigie said on November 11. “They are the same lies addressed in our video.”

The ARRL also has written the committee to reiterate the reasons the legislation is needed and to contradict negative misinformation about its effects.

President Craigie said the message — by telephone or e-mail — is simple: “I’m a constituent and an Amateur Radio operator. I urge Senator __________ to support S. 1685, the Amateur Radio Parity Act, when it comes up for a vote in committee. Thank you.” Visit Contacting Your Congressional Representativeson the ARRL website for contact information for Members of Congress.

“Whether ARRL members use e-mail or telephone, the essential thing is to do it now and to urge other hams in their states to do it now,” President Craigie said.

S. 1685 and its US House twin, H.R. 1301, call on the FCC to extend the limited federal pre-emption of PRB-1 to cover private land-use restrictions such as deed covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). If the legislation becomes law, radio amateurs living in antenna-restricted communities would have the opportunity to negotiate with homeowners associations to install antennas that reasonably accommodate Amateur Radio communication.


UPDATE November 6, 2015

Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 Picks Up US Senator Al Franken as a Cosponsor

US Sen Al Franken (D-MN) has signed on as a cosponsor of the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015, S. 1685. He is the second US Senate cosponsor since the bill was introduced in the Senate by Sen Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced the bill on June 25 with the initial cosponsorship of Sen Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). Franken signed on to S. 1685 on November 5.

“The culture of the US Senate is different than that of the House, and Senators do not sign on to cosponsor legislation as readily as House member do, so we’re especially pleased that Sen Franken has agreed to become the second cosponsor this legislation,” said ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN. She said the ARRL team in Washington has visited the offices of many US Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill, and that their reception has been “cordial and interested.”

S. 1685 and its US House twin, H.R. 1301, call on the FCC to extend the limited federal pre-emption of PRB-1 to cover private land-use restrictions such as deed covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). If the legislation becomes law, radio amateurs living in antenna-restricted communities would have the opportunity to negotiate with homeowners associations to install an antenna that reasonably accommodates Amateur Radio communication. US Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) introduced H.R. 1301 on March 4 with 12 original cosponsors. The House measure now boasts 113 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle.

ARRL Dakota Division Director and Minnesota resident Greg Widin, K0GW, said hams in his state are pleased that Sen Franken has chosen to lead his colleagues in cosponsoring S. 1685.

“Amateurs in Minnesota frequently serve the state in times of emergency and in all sorts of public service events,” he said. “The act will ensure that the many amateurs in CCR communities are able to participate in drills, exercises, and everyday amateur communications via their home stations. These routine communications are the training ground for real-life events, where amateurs may be needed to supplement infrastructure-based communication services.”

President Craigie said the League appreciates the efforts of ARRL members in Minnesota who wrote Sen Franken to encourage him to cosponsor S. 1685, and she hopes that those who wrote will follow up to thank him for agreeing to sign on to the bill. Amateurs in Minnesota can thank the Senator via his website. Click on “Contact Al” on the upper right.

Visit the ARRL Amateur Radio Parity Act web page for more information on this legislation and how you can get involved.


UPDATE November 4, 2015

Amateur Radio Parity Act Continues to Gain Traction in US House

It’s full steam ahead for the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015, as the House version of the bill, H.R. 1301, now has 112 cosponsors and counting. The House bill and its identical US Senate measure, S. 1685, call on the FCC to amend its regulations to extend the limited PRB-1 federal preemption regarding Amateur Radio antennas to include private land-use restrictions such as deed covenant, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). Homeowners associations would need to apply the minimum practicable restriction to accommodate Amateur Radio communication. ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, said the League is continuing to receive and forward stacks of letters generated at hamfests and conventions and destined for members of the US House and Senate.

“All members are encouraged to go ahead and write their own letters to be sent via ARRL Headquarters,” President Craigie said. “They don’t have to wait for a hamfest or convention. Get the letters done now, before the holidays take over everyone’s time and attention. Members’ letters are absolutely essential to the success of this legislation. Everything you can do to drum up letters from your local area is an important part of the overall advocacy program. As I’ve said before, this is a full-team effort, and every member’s action makes a difference.”

ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, said the League has delivered another 3000 member letters urging lawmakers to support the bills to its team in Washington, bringing the total to nearly 14,000. “We have delivered letters to all 100 members of the Senate and 430 of the 441 members and non-voting delegates in the House,” Henderson said. And those letters matter.

“Our DC team walked into a congresswoman’s office a couple of weeks ago with our strong arguments and 30 letters from constituents,” he said “She signed on to the bill last week. They do care about what their constituents say is important to them.”

ARRL Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, said he and ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, visited about 40 lawmakers’ offices on Capitol Hill during 4 days in October, and he’s very confident in how the grassroots campaign is going. “The response we’ve been getting overall is very positive across the board,” Lisenco said. “We feel very good about it.”

Henderson explained that the next stage would be to schedule the draft legislation for “markup,” during which various committee members will have an opportunity to “fine tune” the bill into the form that will be actually considered for a vote.

There is still only the original cosponsor on the US Senate bill, but Henderson saidthe Senate operates a bit differently from the House with respect to cosponsors. Lisenco said he anticipates at least one Senate member to sign on to the bill soon. President Craigie stressed that it’s important for members to write their US Senators as well as their US Representatives, to gain support from members of the upper chamber.

“Letters have been received by every Senator, but we would like to see offices on that side of the Hill stacked high so high with letters that the workers can scarcely find their desks,” President Craigie said.  She suggested a “Senate letter-writing party” at the next club meeting.

Lisenco said that in addition to writing a letter, ARRL members should consider e-mailing or even calling their US House and Senate lawmakers to urge their support. If the Member of Congress already has signed on to the bill, he said, members should contact their lawmakers to express their thanks.

H.R. 1301 has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. US Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI (R-OR), chairs that panel’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, which will consider the measure. S. 1685 has been referred to the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee‘s subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet, which is chaired by the bill’s sponsor, US Sen Roger Wicker (R-MS).

Visit the Amateur Radio Parity Act page for more information and to learn how you can help.


UPDATE October 8, 2015

 A new video — “The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 — Separating Fact from Fiction” — doubles down on the arguments contained in the League’s August statement. ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, said the video will be made available on Capitol Hill to make sure that Members of Congress have correct information, instead of misrepresentations.  Watch the video.

“This short video is a companion piece for the “Clarity on Parity” statement on the ARRL website,” President Craigie said. “The video not only explains what H.R. 1301 and S. 1685 are all about but knocks down specific misinformation that opponents have been circulating on Capitol Hill.”

Read more about the new video from the ARRL.


UPDATE September 3, 2015

ARRL has published an information paper titled Clarity on Amateur Radio Parity.  Please give this widest distribution in our effort to overcome antenna restrictions.


UPDATE September 1, 2015

Senate Bill S 1685 supports House Bill HR 1301

The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 — H.R.1301 in the US House of Representative and S 1685 in the US Senate —  would direct the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land use restrictions. US Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) introduced HR 1301 on March 4 with 12 original cosponsors from both sides of the aisle — seven Republicans and five Democrats in the US House.  US Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced S 1685 on June 25, with Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) as the original cosponsor, into the US Senate.

The Amateur Radio Parity Act would require the FCC to amend its Part 97 Amateur Service rules to apply the three-part test of the PRB-1 federal pre-emption policy to include homeowners association regulations and deed restrictions, often referred to as “covenants, conditions, and restrictions” (CC&Rs). At present, PRB-1 only applies to state and local zoning laws and ordinances. The FCC has been reluctant to extend the same legal protections to include private land-use agreements without direction from Congress.

H.R. 1301 has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI (R-OR), chairs that panel’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee, which will consider the measure. S 1685has been referred to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee’s subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet, which is chaired by the bill’s sponsor, Wicker.

ARRL members are urged to contact their members of both the House and the Senate, asking them to sign on to the bill as a co-sponsor. Route letters for your member of Congress to:

ARRL
Attn:  Amateur Radio Parity Act grassroots campaign
225 Main St
Newington CT 06111

Clarity on Amateur Radio Parity

Some misconceptions about the Amateur Radio Parity Act are being circulated.  Please read the document “Clarity on Amateur Radio Parity” here.


UPDATE July 15, 2015

Your letters to Congressmen and Senators are vitally important.

Read what ARRL says about Letters to members of Congress Offer Biggest Boost to Amateur Radio Parity Act.


UPDATE July 1, 2015

Your Letters to Support Senate Bill Are Needed

Hi folks, and hope all had good time on Field Day.

Well, the “Amateur Radio Parity Act” has now been introduced in the U.S. Senate as S-1685. And what this means is MORE LETTERS!

Dan Henderson of the ARRL called me yesterday to discuss this and HR-1301 (the letter most of you already signed). He says that they have only delivered 5 letters to representative Nugent with regard to 1301. Well, soon he will be getting more than 40 more!  Dan assured me that these letters DO make a difference.

So with that in mind, attached are two letters, one to Senator Bill Nelson and the other to Senator Marco Rubio. I would ask that you print out each of these letters, sign them and print your name and address below your signature and return both of them to me.  They are similar in nature but they refer to separate bills (HR-1301 for the House and S-1685 for the Senate).  I’ll take care of getting them delivered to the proper people”.

John Ellis  NP2B
1149 Mockingbird Lane
The Villages, FL 32163
e-mail:   john.np2b@gmail.com
telephone 352 633-2910
facsimile  352 633-0401
mobile     340 513-4928

2 Attachements:

1. Letter to Senator Bill Nelson

2. Letter to Senator Marco Rubio


UPDATE June 29, 2015

Senate Sponsor of “Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015” said Bill Promotes Regulatory Transparency, Equality

Reference:  Senate Sponsor of Amateur Radio Parity Act

US Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), who sponsored “The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015” in the Senate, had said the bill he introduced, with original cosponsor Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), would allow for transparency and equality in the regulatory process. S. 1685 and its identically worded US House version H.R. 1301 direct the FCC to provide “regulatory parity” for Amateur radio operators. Wicker said in a June 29 media release that the legislation would ensure that Amateur Radio operators are able to continue to provide “critical communications support at no cost to taxpayers.”

“This would be particularly beneficial in Mississippi and other rural states,” Wicker said. “During Hurricane Katrina, Mississippians learned firsthand the value of Amateur Radio, and its ability to provide information that could save lives in times of natural disasters.”

According to Wicker, the measure “ensures ‎increased access to, and availability of, critical resources and communication tools” to first-responders. 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 prevent many hams 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 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.”

Wicker recalled that in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Amateur Radio operators restored communication with FEMA, the Red Cross, and other disaster relief entities when the primary emergency response network was down.

The House version of the bill, H.R. 1301, was introduced in March Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). According to Wicker, the House measure now has 84 bipartisan cosponsors, including Mississippi Rep Gregg Harper.


UPDATE June 3, 2015

Congressman Jeff Miller has signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R.1301!

Please take a couple of minutes to send him an email thanking him for his support. You can do this by filling out the form located at https://jeffmiller.house.gov/contact/contactform.htm.

For the “Issue” on the actual contact form page, select “Telecommunications”.

Please pass this along to all other amateurs that you know who live in the Congressman’s District and also please let me know if you send an email by emailing me at congress@arrlse.org.

Copying your comments to the Congressman on the form and pasting them into the email tocongress@arrlse.org would be especially appreciated.

Thanks & 73,
Doug Rehman, K4AC
ARRL Board of Directors, Southeastern Division


UPDATE June 9, 2015

Letters to Members of Congress Offer Biggest Boost to Amateur Radio Parity Act

Reference:  Letters to Members of Congress Offer Biggest Boost to Amateur Radio Parity Act

06/09/2015

ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, has told Section Mangers that while promotion and positive publicity about the Amateur Radio Parity Act (HR 1301) are always helpful, the most useful action radio amateurs can take is to contact their members of Congress, urging them to sign on as a bill cosponsor. As of June 9, 72 members of the US House in both parties were listed as cosponsors to the proposed legislation, which would direct the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land-use restrictions. Craigie told the SMs that the grassroots campaign supporting HR 1301 needs more letters.

“We have been told quite bluntly by some Congressional offices that they want letters from constituents — that they will be interested in what the ARRL has to say only if they know that voters care about this issue,” Craigie said in urging Section Managers to rally the troops. “Why should the Congressman care, they ask, if the voters don’t? There are tens of thousands of ARRL members who have not written yet. You can do a lot to persuade them to write, because they know you.”

Members are encouraged to contact their member of Congress by writing personalized, signed letters on paper, based on the sample letter, available on the ARRL HR 1301 web page. Letters should go to ARRL Headquarters for hand delivery to the appropriate House members. Send letters to ARRL, ATTN HR 1301 Grassroots Campaign, 225 Main St, Newington CT 06111.

Sending these letters via ARRL allows Headquarters staff to keep track of how many communications are going to which Congressional districts. But more important, Craigie pointed out, when letters are delivered to the Hill in person, there’s an opportunity to speak with Congressional staffers. “The stack of letters is proof that voters care about the bill,” she said. “We have to convince the staff people, so they’ll advise the Representative to co-sponsor. That’s how it works on Capitol Hill.”

Craigie further urged Section Managers to mention the bill when they speak at conventions and club meetings. Craigie urged members whose US House member already has signed on to HR 1301 as a cosponsor to call, write, or e-mail a message of appreciation. “Good manners, good strategy,” she said.

The League is working on having a US Senate version of HR 1301 introduced.

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