An amended version of the Amateur Radio Parity Act, H.R. 1301, received a unanimous favorable report on July 13 from members of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. The bill now will go to the full House for consideration. Before reporting the bill out of committee, the panel first voted to accept the amended language “in the nature of a substitute.” Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI (R-OR), who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, said the substitute bill represented “a good balance” following months of meetings, hard work, and compromise, and he recommended the measure to his colleagues.
“The amendment guarantees that even in deed-restricted communities, Amateur Radio operators are able to use an effective outdoor antenna,” Walden said. “Without an effective antenna Amateur Radio operators are severely limited, so this amendment ensures that amateurs are free to pursue their passion wherever they live.”
At the same time, he continued, the measure protects the rights of those “who have chosen to live in deed-restricted communities and to set their own aesthetic and other rules.”
In early June, the ARRL and the Community Associations Institute (CAI) — the national association of homeowners associations (HOAs) — announced that they had reached consensus on substitute language for H.R. 1301 in an effort to move it through committee and to overcome objections to the companion US Senate bill, S. 1685. The offices of US Representatives Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), the bill’s sponsor, Anna Eshoo (D-CA), and Walden mediated and offered assistance.
“While it’s rare to have two groups with opposing viewpoints walk away from legislation happy, by golly, I think we’ve done it here,” Walden concluded. He said the nature of the substitute represented “the best of what our committee can do when we work together in bipartisan compromise that meets the needs of all parties involved.”
In her remarks, Eshoo said she was glad that an agreement was reached on the language of the bill, which she initially feared would violate the rights of homeowners associations. “We found a balance that works for all stakeholders,” she said. She called ARRL and CAI “the bookends of the effort.”
Kinzinger called the amended bill “a good amendment that strikes the right balance.”