Jim, John, and Walt at the LHARG EXPO Table. 


Amateur Radio Parity Act Update

GOING HAM FOR HAM RADIO — Lawmakers are making a multi-pronged push to drive the bipartisan Amateur Radio Parity Act through Congress and finally bypass objections from top Senate Commerce Democrat Bill Nelson of Florida, whose allegiance to his state’s homeowners’ associations drove his panel to yank the bill from consideration last fall. The legislation, H.R. 555 , would direct the FCC to let amateur radio operators get around private rules, like those imposed by some HOAs, that keep them from putting up radio antennas. The measure cleared the House by voice vote in January 2017 and in the previous Congress.

— House appropriators tucked the amateur radio provisions into the fiscal 2019 Financial Services funding bill that cleared the subcommittee Thursday. It’s also now wrapped into the House’s national defense authorization bill, which passed the House by a wide margin that same morning. House sponsor Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) “is hopeful that Senator Nelson will see its value,” said his spokeswoman. “There are more than 750,000 licensed amateur radio operators in the country, including nearly 20,000 in Illinois and nearly 42,000 in Florida. … When disaster strikes and the power goes out, like when Hurricane Irma hit Sen. Nelson’s home state of Florida back in September, amateur radio operators become critical to emergency response efforts.”

— Senators appropriators haven’t signaled any decisions on whether to follow the House’s lead. “It would suit me,” Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), the radio bill’s Senate sponsor, told John. “I think we’ve done enough that Senator Nelson’s concerns should have been answered.” Wicker and Nelson are also both senior members of the Armed Services Committee, which oversees the NDAA. Nelson’s office didn’t comment this week but last year told POLITICO that homeowners’ associations fear the amateur radio bill is overly broad, confusing and liable to cause litigation over antenna installation.

Source:  POLITICO Morning Tech