Keep those letters coming! To date, according to the ARRL Regulatory Affairs Office, more than 4300 letters have been received from League members since the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 grassroots campaign began in March, all urging their members in both branches of Congress to become cosponsors of the bill. More letters are in the queue, and the correspondence seems to be having the desired effect in terms of additional cosponsors. The League has a combined web page to provide a clearing house for all information on the identical pieces of legislation now in play in the US House and Senate. The Act would direct the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land-use restrictions. The FCC has been reluctant to extend those legal protections without direction from Congress.
ARRL Headquarters has forwarded 3433 letters to 402 individual US House members, seeking their cosponsorship of H.R. 1301. As of July 23, H.R. 1301 had attracted 93 cosponsors, with 7 signing on since mid-July. The nascent campaign on behalf of the identical US Senate bill, S. 1685, has so far garnered more than 900 letters destined to 77 individual US Senate members. To help maintain the momentum, many ARRL Division Directors have been taking a letter-generating tool to conventions and hamfests.
Sending letters urging members of Congress to sign on as cosponsors of The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 via ARRL allows Headquarters staff to keep track of how many pieces of correspondence are going to which US representatives and senators. These are sorted and then hand-delivered to Capitol Hill. As ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, has pointed out, delivering these letters to Capitol Hill in person offers an opportunity to speak with Congressional staffers.
“The stack of letters is proof that voters care about the bill,” she said in June. “We have to convince the staff people, so they’ll advise the [Member of Congress] to co-sponsor. That’s how it works on Capitol Hill.”
Congress’s upcoming August recess offers an ideal opportunity to meet with lawmakers while they are in their home states and districts. Clubs also may want to invite a Member of Congress to visit a meeting. Those interested in following the trajectory of H.R. 1301 may want to sign up to receive the ARRL’s free Legislative Update Newsletter.
Correspondence must be signed and include the constituent’s name and address. Send letters to ARRL Headquarters for hand delivery to the appropriate House or Senate member to ARRL, ATTN Amateur Radio Parity Act Grassroots Campaign, 225 Main St, Newington CT 06111.