The response to ARRL’s call to action urging the support of US Senators for the Amateur Radio Parity Act, H.R. 1301, has been gratifying — although the campaign continues. More than 50,000 e-mails have been sent to Capitol Hill viaRally Congress, and all 100 US Senate members have been contacted. The League continues to encourage members of the Amateur Radio community who have not yet done so to reach out to their two US Senators seeking their support. Just where things stand with respect to the bill’s future in the US Senate is not yet entirely clear.
“As of this moment, we have no date set for action by the Senate,” said ARRL Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, who has been deeply involved in promoting passage of the legislation. “The Senate will adjourn the September work period soon and members will return home to campaign. If we do not achieve consideration before they go into hiatus, we will have to wait until they return after Election Day.”
On September 12, the US House of Representatives approved H.R. 1301 on a voice vote under a suspension of the rules, culminating many years of effort on ARRL’s part to gain legislation that would enable radio amateurs living in deed-restricted communities to erect antennas that support Amateur Radio communication. The bill calls on the FCC to amend its Part 97 rules “to prohibit the application to amateur stations of certain private land-use restrictions, and for other purposes.”
Shepherded by ARRL, the overwhelming grassroots support for H.R. 1301 from the Amateur Radio community was credited for getting the bill through the US House, but it faces significant obstacles to passage in the US Senate. The earlier U.S. Senate version of the bill, S. 1685, no longer is in play, and the Senate is expected to vote on the version of H.R. 1301 that the House adopted this month. The vote came after ARRL worked with the Community Association Institute — which represents homeowners associations — to develop language that both organizations could support.
Rally Congress makes it easy to generate letters to Senators in support of The Amateur Radio Parity Act. The entire process takes just a couple of minutes.
“So it is critical that ARRL members continue to write their Senators,” Lisenco urged. “To those who have already written, thank you! If you haven’t done so already, please do so today. We can only do so much. After that, it becomes the responsibility of the membership to participate.”
According to the amended bill provides, “Community associations should fairly administer private land-use regulations in the interest of their communities, while nevertheless permitting the installation and maintenance of effective outdoor Amateur Radio antennas. There exist antenna designs and installations that can be consistent with the aesthetics and physical characteristics of land and structures in community associations while accommodating communications in the Amateur Radio services.”
More information on The Amateur Radio Parity Act is on the ARRL website.