H.R. 555 — a new “Amateur Radio Parity Act” bill — has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill’s language is identical to that of the 2015 measure, H.R. 1301.
H.R. 555 calls on the FCC to establish rules prohibiting the application of deed restrictions that preclude Amateur Radio communications on their face or as applied. Deed restrictions would have to impose the minimum practicable restriction on Amateur Radio communications to accomplish the lawful purposes of homeowners association seeking to enforce the restriction.
As with H.R. 1301, the new measure introduced on January 13 in the 115th Congress was sponsored by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), with initial co-sponsorship by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Rep. Greg Walden, W7EQI (R-OR). Walden now chairs the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, to which the new bill has been referred. H.R. 555 will get an initial airing in the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. When H.R. 1301 came up in committee, Walden spoke forcefully in favor of the measure, which ultimately attracted 126 House cosponsors.
Dr Joe Palsa
ARRL Virginia Section Manager
Please do not cut and paste the whole article. But use the information to write 1/2 page E mail to your House of Representatives delegate. Included bill number HR1301 and that you wish passage of the bill. This is very important thank you!!!
The American Radio Relay is the representative of Amateur Radio in the United States. There are more than 720,000 Amateur Radio operators licensed by the FCC. ARRL’s membership of approximately 170,000 includes the most active and dedicated Amateur Radio operators.
Radio Amateurs (hams) provide, on a volunteer basis, public service, emergency, and disaster relief communications using radio stations located in their residences. Their services cost taxpayers nothing. They are provided at no cost to any served agency or to any government entity. Served agencies include the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Department of Defense. Disaster relief planning exercises and emergency communications certification courses guarantee trained operators throughout the United States. FEMA has stated that when Amateur Radio operators are needed in an emergency or disaster, they are really needed.
Land use restrictions that prohibit the installation of outdoor antenna systems are the largest threat to Amateur Radio emergency and public service communications. They are escalating quickly and exponentially. An outdoor antenna is critical to the effectiveness of an Amateur Radio station. Typically, all Amateur Radio antennas are prohibited in residential areas by private land use regulations. In other instances, prior approval of the homeowners’ association is required for any outdoor antenna installation. The Amateur Radio Parity Act would not give Amateurs "carte blanche" to do whatever they wished. It would require HOAs and other private land use regulations to extend reasonable accommodation to Amateurs wishing to erect antennas.
Twenty-nine years ago, the FCC found that there was a “strong Federal interest” in supporting effective Amateur Radio communications. FCC also found that zoning ordinances often unreasonably restricted Amateur Radio antennas in residential areas. The FCC, in a docket proceeding referred to as “PRB-1”, created a three-part test for municipal regulations affecting Amateur Radio communications. State or local land use regulations:
(A) cannot preclude Amateur Radio communications;
(B) must make “reasonable accommodation” for Amateur Radio communications; and
(C) must constitute the “minimum practicable restriction” in order to accomplish a legitimate municipal purpose.
Therefore, we seek cosponsors for HR 555 – the Amateur Radio Parity Act - which would provide for regulatory parity and uniformity in land use regulations as they pertain to Amateur Radio communications. It would do so by applying the existing FCC “reasonable accommodation” policy formally to all types of land use regulation.