Amateur Radio Parity Act… Amendments?
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
CCRs and HOAs are exactly why I don’t live in one.
While I fully support this bill, I am completely confident it will NOT pass. Logic nor reason has anything to do with it. It’s all about MONEY and the political power it buys, and the HOA / real estate lobby has a LOT more of it than the Ham radio community does. Right or wrong, they see towers and antennas as a threat, and I can promise you – they will not stand by and let this bill turn into law. They will use their superior financial resources to pay lobbyist to get this bill killed or shelved.
I hope I’m wrong.
“They will use their superior financial resources to pay lobbyist to get this bill killed or shelved.”
Or if it IS passed, they’ll drag it through a million court challenges to try to get it overturned.
KG4LJB: ” It’s all about MONEY and the political power it buys, and the HOA / real estate lobby has a LOT more of it than the Ham radio community does.”
Does the HOA lobby have a lot of money and political clout? Is the Real Estate lobby opposed to antennas?
It’s easy to say these things. Show us what you have to back the statements up.
I started serving on an HOA board last year. I wish we had a lot of money and political clout. We have a hard enough time getting meeting minutes out, let alone lobbying DC or supporting any sort of lobbying organization. It’s a thankless job where you’re elected by the community to enforce rules that everyone in the community signed up to comply with but hate to be called out on when they don’t follow the rules. You have the residents who want you to spend all the community funds on them and they sue when you don’t. You have nutcases who flood you with frivolous requests and complaints. You get Monday morning quarterbacked by everyone when you make a decision. Fun fun fun. Not.
If you are real serious about your hobby and antenna, don’t buy in a HOA neighborhood. Rules are what the rules are. HOA rules are not difficult to enforce, slap a large fine on the property, if not paid , you lien it to be sold when the property is sold. Look in your deed restrictions , you sign it when you purchased the property. Just the facts. I can’t see this passing except for city wide type restrictions passed by a city council.
David said: “If you are real serious about your hobby and antenna, don’t buy in a HOA neighborhood.”
David is just not listening. There ARE NO non-HOA neighborhoods. OK, that’s not true. There are some. But are there any where you want to live? Jobs, schools, family, price – just some of the factors that might be more important than ham radio. OR, you became a ham AFTER… maybe long after…. you bought the house. If ‘non HOA’ is the filter, your choices become very limited.
“Rules are what the rules are.” Again, not listening. That’s what the Parity Act is all about: CHANGING those unfair rules. Not to totally remove them. Just to require them to 1) not prohibit, 2) reasonably accommodate, and 3) be the minimum practicable rules to accomplish their purpose regarding Amateur Radio antennas.
“I can’t see this passing except for city wide type restrictions passed by a city council.” David not only is not listening, he doesn’t have a clue! PRB-1 already covers this situation, and has since 1985. PRB-1 applies to state and local governments (“a city council”). The Parity Act EXTENDS this to HOAs.