HomeARRLThe Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 Introduced in the US Senate

A companion Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 bill has been introduced in the US Senate. Mississippi Republican Sen Roger Wicker introduced S. 1685 on June 25, with Connecticut Democratic Sen Richard Blumenthal as the initial cosponsor. The Senate bill joins
an identical measure in the US House, H.R. 1301, which was introduced in March by Illinois Republican Rep Adam Kinzinger. Both measures would direct the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land-use restrictions.

“Introduction of the Senate bill is a huge step toward achieving fairness for amateurs affected by private land-use regulation,” said ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN. “For them and for the future of Amateur Radio, I thank everyone who contributed to making this progress. Now let’s finish the job!”

Wicker said the bill he introduced with Blumenthal’s cosponsorship would allow for transparency and equality in the regulatory process. He 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.”
Sen Roger Wicker (R-MS).
“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.”

S. 1685 has been referred to the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, chaired by Sen John Thune (R-SD).

The House version of The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 had attracted support from 83 cosponsors, as of July 1.

ARRL Website Has New Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 Page
Now that there is Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 legislation in both chambers of the US Congress, the League has a combined web page to accommodate activities on behalf of both bills. The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 is H.R. 1301 in the US House of Representatives and S. 1685 in the US Senate. The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 page provides a clearinghouse for all information on these identical pieces of legislation.

US Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) introduced H.R. 1301 on March 4 with bipartisan support. US Sen Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced S. 1685 on June 26, with Sen Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) as an original cosponsor.

The bill 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” or CC&Rs. PRB-1 now only applies to state and local zoning laws and ordinances, and the FCC has been reluctant to extend the same legal protections to include such private land-use agreements without direction from Congress.

ARRL members are urged to write their members of Congress in both the House and the Senate, asking them to sign on to the bill as cosponsors. Route letters to your member of Congress to ARRL, ATTN Amateur Radio Parity Act Grassroots Campaign, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. Correspondence will be sorted at ARRL Headquarters and hand delivered to the appropriate US representatives and senators. Letters should include the sender’s name and address.

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