On a voice vote, the US House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology has sent the Amateur Radio Parity Act, H.R. 1301, to the full House Energy and Commerce Committee with a favorable report for further consideration. The measure was among three bills the Subcommittee considered during a February 11 “markup” session. The Subcommittee is chaired by Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI (R-OR).
“I’m optimistic that we can put the finishing touches on these bills in the weeks ahead and once again produce important, bipartisan legislation that protects consumers, small businesses, and access to the latest communications services,” Walden said after the hearing.
During the markup session, Walden and the bill’s sponsor, Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) made impassioned statements in favor of the legislation. Kinzinger said that while he can appreciate some of the concerns expressed by those who do not agree with his bill, he believes that the time has come to adopt a “reasonable accommodation standard” with respect to the erection of outdoor antennas in neighborhoods governed by private land-use restrictions.
Walden agreed. “You don’t necessarily need to have a giant tower blocking everybody’s view,” he pointed out to the Subcommittee. He suggested that more modest antenna systems often are sufficient. He and Kinzinger noted that there is common ground between proponents and opponents of the measure and that “it’s important to get this done.” Rep Anna Eshoo (D-CA) also spoke to recognize the work all parties have been doing to ensure the bill’s passage in the House.
At a Subcommittee hearing on H.R. 1301 last month, Walden called it “a commonsense bill” and urged his colleagues’ support. Kinzinger also spoke in favor of H.R. 1301 at the January 12 hearing, saying that his bill’s “reasonable accommodation standard” would not mandate placement, size, or aesthetics regarding an outdoor antenna, leaving ham radio operators and homeowners associations to decide those issues.
H.R. 1301 would direct the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land-use restrictions, such as deed covenants, conditions, and restrictions. The bill has attracted 120 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle. An identical US Senate measure, S. 1685, has attracted three cosponsors. It cleared the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation last November.
At the ARRL National ConventionFebruary 12-14 at the Orlando HamCation, ARRL representatives will be on hand to help visitors to generate letters of support to members of Congress. More information about the legislation is on the ARRL Amateur Radio Parity Act web page.