It’s now down to the wire: ARRL has issued a last call for members to urge their US Senators to support the Amateur Radio Parity Act (H.R. 1301) when it comes up during the “lame duck” session of Congress that adjourns in a couple of weeks. The House of Representatives approved the bill in September, and the Senate must follow suit if the bill is to succeed. If it fails in the Senate, the entire process will have to be repeated in the new Congress. The legislation is now in the Senate in two forms — as H.R. 1301 and alternately in the packaged bill S. 253
“We are on our final push for the Amateur Radio Parity Act before Congress adjourns,” said ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR. “The grassroots effort by the Amateur Radio community has been outstanding. Since September, over 110,000 emails have been sent to legislators in Congress. Thanks to everyone who has helped, but we can’t stop now. Please, keep the e-mails coming and also work the phones down the stretch. Call your Senators! We are almost there. Let’s get it done!”
ARRL Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, who chairs the ARRL Board’s Legislative Advocacy Committee and has been heavily involved in efforts to move H.R. 1301 forward, echoed President Roderick’s sentiments. He said the bill was just starting to build momentum in the Senate following it unanimous passage in the House, when Congress shut down for the 4 weeks prior to Election Day. He pointed out that H.R. 1301 has received broad support from both parties.
Lisenco had a special request of Florida radio amateurs. “Please write and call Sen. Bill Nelson and demand that he remove his hold on H.R. 1301 and support passage of this critical legislation.”
Urging your US Senators’ support is simple: Go to our Rally Congress page, enter your ZIP code, fill in your name and address, press enter, and e-mails will go directly to your Senators. Members may do this even if they have already contacted their US Senators for support.
There are no guarantees, Lisenco has pointed out. “In order to have a chance at overcoming political obstacles that have little or nothing to do with the legislation, we need our voices to be heard,” he said. “And we need that input today!”
President Roderick urged members to “reach out one more time to your Senators today! Right away Right now!”
September’s victory in the US House culminated many years of effort on ARRL’s part to gain legislation that would enable radio amateurs living in deed-restricted communities to erect efficient outdoor antennas that support Amateur Radio communication. The measure calls on the FCC to amend its Part 97 rules “to prohibit the application to amateur stations of certain private land-use restrictions, and for other purposes.”
While similar bills in past years gained some traction on Capitol Hill, it was not until the overwhelming grassroots support from the Amateur Radio community for H.R. 1301, and ARRL’s relentless and strident efforts on Capitol Hill that this bill made it this far.