The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 - H.R. 1301

Discussion in 'Regulatory Developments' started by W5HRO, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator


    The push is on to convince Congress to pass The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 — H.R. 1301, introduced in the US House early this month with bipartisan support. The full text of the bill now is available. If approved and signed by the president, the measure would direct the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land use restrictions — also known collectively as “deed covenants, conditions, and restrictions” or CC&Rs. In the March issue of the ARRL Legislative Update, ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, said the bill is “simple and sensible,” and she urged all radio amateurs — whether or not affected by CC&Rs — to join the effort to gain cosponsors for the measure. A regularly updated H.R. 1301 page on the ARRL website includes key “talking points” and other information for Amateur Radio delegations or individuals to use when approaching US House members for their support.

    “Private land use restrictions that prohibit antennas are growing at an alarming rate all over the country,” President Craigie said in stressing the urgency of the current campaign. “This is not just a problem in cities, suburbs, and gated communities. It is everywhere.” Part of the problem, she explained, is the uneven application of Amateur Radio antenna regulation from the public to the private sphere. While her Virginia county has what she called “a very satisfactory antenna ordinance,” similar accommodations do not extend to developments where homeowners associations and private land-use regulations hold sway.

    “Not far away in the same county, a bright young electrical engineer who has recently returned to Amateur Radio lives in a newer development that has private land use regulations flatly prohibiting antennas,” she said. “How does that make sense? In our rural and small-town county, every new development must have a homeowners association, and they all prohibit antennas with cookie-cutter language.”

    As President Craigie sees it, H.R. 1301 is all about fairness. “H.R. 1301 seeks regulatory parity for my young, technically sophisticated friend — not a blank check, not the heavy hand of the federal government, but simply the same opportunity for him to negotiate reasonable accommodation that I had because of PRB-1,” she said. “It seeks a level playing field for him and me.”

    President Craigie said she reached out to her Member of Congress to support H.R. 1301, and she was successful. She asked other radio amateurs to do the same.

    “If private land use restrictions do not affect you, please stand up for your fellow amateurs,” she urged. “Please stand up for the youth we all want to attract into Amateur Radio. What is the point of helping youth get their licenses if they cannot go on to develop the skills of Amateur Radio because they cannot have antennas in their neighborhoods?”

    President Craigie and members of the ARRL Executive Committee are in Washington, DC, this week, and they will be visiting with individual lawmakers prior to the EC meeting this weekend.

    US Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) introduced H.R. 1301 on March 4 with 12 original co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle. Kinzinger had also sponsored “The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014, which died at the end of the 113th Congress, and H.R. 1301 is essentially identical.

    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 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. The League had worked with Walden on the 2014 bill during the 113th Congress.

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