Amateur Radio Bill Introduced in Senate
Friday, July 14, 2017 | Comments

U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker and Richard Blumenthal introduced legislation titled the “Amateur Radio Parity Act,” which would direct the FCC to provide regulatory parity for amateur radio operators.

S 1534 is identical to H.R. 555, which passed in the House in January.

“Amateur radio operators provide an invaluable service to their communities by assisting local emergency communication efforts when disasters occur and main lines are down,” Blumenthal said. “This bipartisan measure ensures that operators have access to the tools they need to support our first responders when lives are at stake.”

Under current rules, a large segment of amateur radio operators are prohibited from installing functional outdoor antennas at their homes. The bill would call on the FCC to apply its reasonable accommodation standard evenly to all types of residential land use regulations, including in communities that now have restrictions blocking the installation of amateur radio antennas.

The bill includes a provision to allow amateur radio operators to negotiate with individual homeowner associations to install antennas that conform to the community’s aesthetic interests. The provision would preserve association control over a community’s appearance and would enable expansion of amateur radio networks in areas that were previously off-limits to operators.

The provision is the result of a consensus reached by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and the Community Associations Institute (CAI), each representing thousands of amateur radio operators and community associations in the United States respectively.

“ARRL is grateful for the support of Sens. Wicker and Blumenthal for sponsoring this important piece of legislation and for advocating this bill for the past three years,” ARRL President Rick Roderick said. “Their continuing support is critical to the success of our efforts.”

Roderick also thanked Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, for “championing the Parity Act in the Senate since the beginning of our effort.”

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On 7/24/17, Mark Neale said:
The proposal sounds good but it will require careful wording to get through some of the homeowners associations. Some of them are extremely restrictive to the point is hard to put a flag on your porch. If an association would retain the right to control a community's appearance you're probably not going to get many antennas installed.

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