In August, the ARRL acted to address objections and concerns being raised by representatives of community and neighborhood associations regarding the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 — H.R. 1301 and S. 1685. “Clarity on Amateur Radio Parity” made it clear that the bill would not create new federal policy with respect to outdoor amateur antennas, nor would it require homeowners associations to approve huge radio towers. Now, a new video — “The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 — Separating Fact from Fiction” — doubles down on the arguments contained in the League’s August statement. ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, said the video will be made available on Capitol Hill to make sure that Members of Congress have correct information, instead of misrepresentations.
“This short video is a companion piece for the “Clarity on Parity” statement on the ARRL website,” President Craigie said. “The video not only explains what H.R. 1301 and S. 1685 are all about but knocks down specific misinformation that opponents have been circulating on Capitol Hill.”
The nearly 6 minute video begins by explaining Amateur Radio — and especially its public service role — in layperson’s terms. It includes video clips of FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, KK4INZ, who addressed the value of Amateur Radio in emergencies when he spoke at the ARRL Centennial National Convention in 2014, and of Sen Roger Wicker of Mississippi, the sponsor of S. 1685, the Senate bill.
As the presentation outlines, radio amateurs living in deed-restricted neighborhoods may face “cookie cutter prohibitions” on outdoor antennas. It notes, however, that the FCC recognizes a strong federal interest in effective Amateur Radio communication from residences and, in 1985, adopted the PRB-1 limited preemption of state and local regulation of Amateur Radio antennas. As the statement — and now the video — point out, the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 would extend that limited preemption to private land-use restrictions.
The legislation “takes the time-tested 30 year old reasonable accommodation standard [in PRB-1] and applies it to deed-restricted communities,” the video states. “Unfortunately, there is a smear campaign against this legislation, and we need to respond to these blatant lies.”
The video stresses that neighborhood homeowners associations (HOAs) would have the flexibility to reasonably accommodate amateur antennas in a manner that best suits the particular community, although HOAs could not just say “no.” The legislation also does not take away any jurisdiction from community associations, nor does it negate any private contracts, the video asserts. “HOAs, not the hams, will decide on height and placement of radio antennas,” it says. “Amateur Radio operators in these communities just want a seat at the table to negotiate a reasonable accommodation from HOAs, but HOAs don’t want there to even be a table.”
As the video concludes, “Opposing reasonable accommodation is just unreasonable.”
President Craigie suggested that League members could use the video at club meetings to help their fellow hams understand the legislation and show why it’s so important to urge members of the US House and Senate to support the bills, which have more than 100 supporters in both chambers. “If your club has an e-mail reflector, Twitter feed, Facebook page, or newsletter, you could add a link to the video to make it easy for people to find it online,” she said.
President Craigie said her Congressman in Southwest Virginia is a co-sponsor of H.R. 1301. “I went to his official website and sent an e-mail thanking him and politely refreshing his memory about the appreciation we hams in the district have for his support,” she said. “I’d like everyone whose representative is already a cosponsor to call a local office or put a short e-mail on the official website saying, ‘Thank you!’ This is a great way to keep the legislation in the Representative’s mind and to let him or her know that the decision to co-sponsor is still very much on our minds. We should never take their support for granted. Speak out for Amateur Radio!”
Visit the ARRL website’s Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 page for more information about this legislation and how you can get involved.