On February 11, the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology (chaired by Greg Walden W7EQI) voted to send HR 1301, the Amateur Radio Parity Act, forward to the full Energy & Commerce Committee. Yay! A major step, because if they’d voted it down, it would have been toast for this session (and maybe forever, if it got beat bad enough).
They passed it on a voice vote, and it appeared to be unanimous. Also Yay!
But hold on. There was one Committee member, Rep. Anna Eschoo from California, who has been wary of, if not opposed to the bill, based on lobbying she’s received from an association of HOAs (the CAI – Community Associations Institute). Her comments in the session, and those of Chairman Greg Walden and the bill’s Sponsor, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, all referenced the need to compromise on some amendments before the bill arrives at the parent committee, and noted that there hadn’t been time to prepare new language for this “markup session” (when a bill is voted up or down).
I don’t know who’s involved in the negotiations. They’ll certainly involve the Representatives and their staffs, and probably the ARRL and CAI.
I do have a clue about what they’ll be negotiating, though. At a January 12 hearing, both ARRL and CAI filed letters with the Subcommittee, although neither group had anyone testifying in person or answering questions. The CAI’s letter contained 7 specific amendments they requested. I marked up their document with some highlighting and comments (but didn’t change or delete any of their text), and you can see it here.
So the list of amendments had been hanging around for a month, but the Subcommittee didn’t get to them before the markup session. That’s too bad, I guess. Might have been interesting to see the points discussed or debated in the Subcommittee. Instead, the discussion won’t see a lot of sunshine until the result surfaces, possibly in the full Committee. (I will be asking some questions before then. Answers?)
Here in HamRadioNow Episode 245, I’ve got video clips of the markup vote and comments by all the principles, and clips of all the Parity Act discussion from the January hearing. And I review the CAI’s document and discuss the amendments.
73, Gary KN4AQ