US Sen Al Franken (D-MN) has signed on as a cosponsor of the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015, S. 1685. He is the second US Senate cosponsor since the bill was introduced in the Senate by Sen Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced the bill on June 25 with the initial cosponsorship of Sen Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). Franken signed on to S. 1685 on November 5.
“The culture of the US Senate is different than that of the House, and Senators do not sign on to cosponsor legislation as readily as House member do, so we’re especially pleased that Sen Franken has agreed to become the second cosponsor this legislation,” said ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN. She said the ARRL team in Washington has visited the offices of many US Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill, and that their reception has been “cordial and interested.”
S. 1685 and its US House twin, H.R. 1301, call on the FCC to extend the limited federal pre-emption of PRB-1 to cover private land-use restrictions such as deed covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). If the legislation becomes law, radio amateurs living in antenna-restricted communities would have the opportunity to negotiate with homeowners associations to install an antenna that reasonably accommodates Amateur Radio communication. US Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) introduced H.R. 1301 on March 4 with 12 original cosponsors. The House measure now boasts 113 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle.
ARRL Dakota Division Director and Minnesota resident Greg Widin, K0GW, said hams in his state are pleased that Sen Franken has chosen to lead his colleagues in cosponsoring S. 1685.
“Amateurs in Minnesota frequently serve the state in times of emergency and in all sorts of public service events,” he said. “The act will ensure that the many amateurs in CCR communities are able to participate in drills, exercises, and everyday amateur communications via their home stations. These routine communications are the training ground for real-life events, where amateurs may be needed to supplement infrastructure-based communication services.”
President Craigie said the League appreciates the efforts of ARRL members in Minnesota who wrote Sen Franken to encourage him to cosponsor S. 1685, and she hopes that those who wrote will follow up to thank him for agreeing to sign on to the bill. Amateurs in Minnesota can thank the Senator via his website. Click on “Contact Al” on the upper right.
Visit the ARRL Amateur Radio Parity Act web page for more information on this legislation and how you can get involved.