Citing benefit to emergency communications, congressmen seek cosponsors for amateur radio antenna bill
U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), sponsor of HR 4720, a bill before the U.S. House of Representatives that would provide relief to radio amateurs faced with private deed covenants, conditions and restrictions—CC&Rs—in erecting antennas, wants additional congressmen to sign the bill as cosponsors.
Together with the two House members who are radio amateurs, Mike Ross, WD5DVR (D-Ark.) and Greg Walden, WB7OCE (R-Ore.), Israel is pitching his colleagues to sign on as cosponsors. When a bill has enough cosponsors, it can go to a floor vote without committee approval. The three congressmen sent a letter last week to request all House members to cosponsor.
“Your co-sponsorship of this bill is an opportunity to show your support for more than 670,000 licensed radio amateurs throughout the United States,” the letter reads.
Israel introduced the measure in May, with Walden and Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) as original cosponsors.
HR 4720 has attracted 30 cosponsors, although one of them, Rep. Patsy Mink (D-Hawaii) died Sept. 29. The latest to express support for the measure include representatives Jo Ann Davis (R-Va.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Marion Berry (D-Ark.), John Olver (D-Mass.) and Dennis Rehberg (R-Mont.).
The “Dear Colleague” letter from Israel, Ross and Walden pointed out that hams “regularly provide emergency communication when regular communications channels are disrupted by disaster” and support governmental and private relief organizations. It further noted that with the growth of planned communities, hams “have begun to fall under an array of inconsistent regulations, making it increasingly difficult to operate.”
The CC&R bill, called “The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Consistency Act,” was introduced “to ensure the continued viability of Amateur Radio through consistent application of federal regulations,” the letter said.
HR 4720 would require private land-use regulators—such as homeowners’ associations—to “reasonably accommodate” amateur radio communication consistent with the PRB-1 limited federal preemption. PRB-1 now applies only to states and municipalities. HR 4720 has been referred to the House Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee, to which Walden recently was appointed.
ARRL asks support for HR 4720
The American Radio Relay League, a membership organization of radio amateurs, has been active in promoting HR 4720, urging those who would support its passage visit the House “Write Your Representative Service Web page” for information on how to contact their representatives.
The ARRL has requested those writing or e-mailing members of Congress—whether or not they support the legislation—to send it a copy of their correspondence via e-mail to email@example.com or via postal mail to CC&R Bill, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111.
The ARRL has made a copy of the bill available, along with additional information, on its Web site on the “HR 4720, The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Consistency Act of 2002” page.
(American Radio Relay League Letter)