Amateur radio Parity Act

Is the Amateur Radio Parity Act Bill in Trouble?

Current status of the Amateur Radio Parity Act bill as posted on QRZ.com by Frank Howell, K4FMH.

With the push by the ARRL on contacting your Senators now out in emails and their webpage, I thought I’d touch base with my Senator, Roger Wicker (R-MS), to see why the earlier ARRL note that a voice vote was scheduled for November has now gone silent. I’ve phrased my note as being from “some ham in Mississippi” to tease Chris Imlay W3KD of the ARRL since he used that term when describing how the Senate Bill (S. 1635) got submitted. Other than a private note of thanks from the Past President of the League, Kay Craigie N3KN, I’ve heard nothing from them since I get them in contact with my Senator to follow-up my constituent request for the submission of a companion bill to that in the House. I had already gotten my Congressman, Greg Harper (R-MS) . (No negative sentiment here…just the facts.)

Today, I spoke with Senator Wicker’s Telecommunications Advisor about the status of the revised Senate Bill (S. 253) given the pending end of this Congress. Here’s the deal: the projected voice vote on the bill, S. 253, which would send the consolidated bill to the President for his signature has been put on hold. Here’s why: a proposed FCC Commissioner has been a sticking point for Senator Nelson (D-FL) which as resulted a hold on ALL telecommunications bills. Unless Senator Nelson can be pursuaded to accomodate other telecommunications bills moving forward, the Amateur Radio Parity Act will die at the end of this Congress.

What needs to happen is two-fold:

1. The 40,000+ licensed hams in Florida should put a strong push on Senator Nelson’s office to pursuade him to reach across the aisle and let the S. 253 bill come up for a vote during THIS sesson of Congress.

2. The ARRL needs to get their local Senator, Mr. Blumenthal (D-CT), to caucus with fellow Democrat Nelson to get this S. 253 released for a vote. It is bipartison and there are apparently no political issues with the existing Parity Act except that it’s just caught in the politics of a nominated FCC Commissioner. The latter is simply more important politically than amateur radio but 40,000 constituents can be a powerful force for Mr. Nelson.

Florida hams can contact Senator Nelson as a constituent request at: (202) 224-5274. Ask him to support S. 253 coming up now for a vote. You can send email to him at this webpage: www.billnelson.senate.gov OR via the ARRL webpage at https://arrl.rallycongress.net.

Contact the ARRL to encourage them https://arrl.rallycongress.net to get their local Senator, Mr. Blumental Blumenthal to caucus with Senator Nelson at: 888-277-5289.

Should the Amateur Radio Parity Act fail to come to a vote in the Senate, the legislation is dead. There is no commitment by Senator Wicker to resubmit the bill in the next Congress but I will take that up with him in early 2017.

This is our best shot at getting something to assist hams living in HOA-controlled neighborhoods. Regardless of your own feelings about the approach taken by the League in helping to shape the narrative in the Bills, please consider supporting this effort through your own Senator. To simply get amateur radio this high up on the radar in Congress is somewhat amazing so let’s don’t let it fail now.

73,

Frank Howell
K4FMH