ARRL representatives are continuing efforts on Capitol Hill to secure sponsorship for a Senate companion bill to the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 — H.R. 1301. ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, is optimistic that Amateur Radio Parity Act legislation will be active in both the US House and Senate this summer. The proposed legislation, which has bipartisan support, would direct the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land-use restrictions.
“Progress has been made on a US Senate version of the bill,” Henderson said this week. “We’ve had some very positive feedback on the Senate side, and we believe a companion bill will be submitted there soon.”
Henderson stressed that when a companion US Senate bill is “dropped” — submitted, in congressional parlance — it will have a completely different number than the current House bill, H.R. 1301. Once that happens, ARRL members will be urged to contact their two US senators to encourage them to cosponsor the Senate bill. Until then, he stressed, League members should refrain from contacting any US Senators, because the only active bill is the one in the US House — H.R. 1301.
“You can’t ask US Senators to cosponsor a bill in the US House,” Henderson said, “and you can’t ask US House members to cosponsor a bill in the US Senate.”
Henderson has been sorting through letters from ARRL members for hand-delivery to Capitol Hill. He advised that letter writers must include their name and address on their correspondence, because members of Congress are interested in voters. He said letters that are not signed, that don’t include the constituent’s address, or that are directed to the wrong Member of Congress cannot be used.
Henderson has spent a lot of his time recently meeting with congressional staffers and occasional US House members, in an effort to gain additional cosponsors for the bill. As of June 25, there were 79 cosponsors of H.R. 1301, and Henderson said he anticipates a few more House members will sign onto the bill soon.
The latest cosponsors of H.R. 1301 are Rep David Rouzer (NC) and Rep Janice Hahn (CA).
ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND.
“The bill is being well received,” Henderson said, “and we anticipate a mark-up session in the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet after the August recess, and following that, hearings will be scheduled.” US Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI, chairs the subcommittee that will consider the bill.
Henderson said the Congress’s upcoming August recess would be a good time to meet with lawmakers while they are in their home states and districts. He suggested contacting a House member’s local constituent office to arrange a visit. “It is not too early,” he added. “Perhaps you could convince the member of Congress to visit your club meeting.” He also recommended that those interested in following the trajectory of H.R. 1301 should sign up to receive the ARRL’s free Legislative Update Newsletter.
ARRL 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 include the constituent’s address. Send letters to ARRL Headquarters for hand delivery to the appropriate House members to: ARRL, ATTN HR 1301 Grassroots Campaign, 225 Main St, Newington CT 06111.
States, Counties, Communities Recognize the Value of Amateur Radio
Several US states, counties, and communities have taken the opportunity to formally recognize the value of Amateur Radio and the occasion of ARRL Field Day.