Category Archives: Legal

California AB-1222 ammended to exclude Specialized Mobile Radio Devices from Current Law

With the passing of California AB-1785 there has been a lot of confusion and concern that use of amateur radio devices in a mobile setting was now outlawed.

Existing law makes it a crime to drive a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device, as specified. Existing law defines an electronic wireless communications device as including, but not limited to, a broadband personal communication device, a specialized mobile radio device, a handheld device or laptop computer with mobile data access, a pager, or a two-way messaging device.

Recently California Assembly Bill 1222, introduced by Assembly Member Quirk, was amended in Assembly on April 17, 2017 that looks to allow for use of mobile commercial radio systems.

This bill would remove a specialized mobile radio device and a two-way messaging device from the list of devices specifically included as an electronic wireless communications device.

Specialize Mobile Radio device

The Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) service is defined by 47 CFR, Part 90. and utilizes the 800/900 MHz spectrum.

Two-way Messaging device

Two-way messaging device is a vague term and open to much interpretation by the public and authorities. One could argue that texting is using a two-way messaging device.

Again just was when the original Bill was passed, it looks like non-technical, legislators and staff that have no real knowledge of the basic technical aspects of radio are writing these laws.

Text of the Bill can be viewed here:  http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB1222

Two-Way Radio Users Worried California’s Cellphone Ban Is Too Broad

by: Macy Jenkins

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Back in January, it became illegal to hold your cell phone while driving. But now some drivers say the law unfairly targets radio users as well and they want that to change.

“I’m driving down the road and talking on this radio,” said Norm Lucas, holding his high frequency radio microphone. “Doing that simple act while driving is a $20 ticket.”

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ARRL Weighs In on New California ‘Driving While Wireless’ Statute

ARRL is recommending that Amateur Radio be specifically excluded from a California statute prohibiting the use of “wireless communication devices” while driving. ARRL Southwestern Division Vice Director Marty Woll, N6VI, is taking point on the effort to revise the statute, known by its legislative bill number AB 1785. It was signed into law last September, and it took effect on January 1, amending §23123.5 of the state’s Vehicle Code.

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ARRL Board of Directors Adopts Legislative Objectives for 115th Congress

The ARRL Board of Directors has unanimously adopted five legislative objectives for the 115th US Congress. The Board took the action when it met in Connecticut January 20-21. ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, chaired the session.

The first objective is to seek early congressional passage of the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017, H.R. 555 and of any Senate companion bill that might be introduced. H.R. 555 cleared the House on January 23. The Board was told that specific instructions to the FCC on implementation of the bill would be included in the report language from Congress.

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Amateur Radio Parity Act Speeds to U.S. House Passage, Heads to U.S. Senate

Just 10 days after being introduced, the 2017 Amateur Radio Parity Act legislation, H.R. 555, passed the U.S. House of Representatives this week on unanimous consent under a suspension of House rules. The bill’s language is identical to that of the 2015 measure, H.R. 1301, which won House approval late last summer after attracting 126 co-sponsors, but failed to clear the U.S. Senate last fall as the 114th Congress wound down. The new bill, again sponsored by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), was introduced on January 13 with initial co-sponsorship by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Rep. Greg Walden, W7EQI (R-OR), who chairs the influential House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

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FCC Dismisses Two Petitions from Radio Amateurs

The FCC has turned down two petitions filed in 2016, each seeking similar changes in the Part 97 Amateur Service rules. James Edwin Whedbee, N0ECN, of Gladstone, Missouri, had asked the Commission to amend the rules to reduce the number of Amateur Radio operator classes to Technician, General, and Amateur Extra by merging remaining Novice class licensees into the Technician class and all Advanced class licensees into the Amateur Extra class. In a somewhat related petition, Jeffrey H. Siegell, WB2YRL, of Burke, Virginia, had requested that the FCC grant Advanced class license holders Morse code operating privileges equivalent to those enjoyed by Amateur Extra class licensees.

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ARRL Vows Continued Pursuit of the Amateur Radio Parity Act in the 115th Congress

The Amateur Radio Parity Act, H.R. 1301, died an unbefitting death as the 114th Congress of the United States drew to a close today. After having passed the House of Representatives on a unanimous vote, the bill stalled in the Senate due to the intervention of only one member, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL).

Over the course of the past year, Sen. Nelson has received thousands of e-mails, letters, and phone calls from concerned constituents asking for his support of H.R. 1301. Numerous meetings were held with his senior staff in an effort to move the legislation forward. Negotiations, which led to an agreement with the national association of homeowner’s associations and publicly supported by CAI and ARRL, were brushed aside by Sen. Nelson as irrelevant.

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ARRL Calls on Members to Press for US Senate Passage of Amateur Radio Parity Act

ARRL once again is calling on its members to urge their US Senators to support the Amateur Radio Parity Act (H.R. 1301) when it comes up in the Senate during the “lame duck” session of Congress that adjourns in mid-December. The House of Representatives approved the bill in September, but if the Senate does not follow suit, the bill will die, and the entire process will have to be repeated. ARRL Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, who chairs the ARRL Board’s Legislative Advocacy Committee and has been heavily involved in efforts to move H.R. 1301 forward, said today, “The clock is ticking!”

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ARRL Gauging Impact of Revised California Distracted Driving Law

California has upped its game in cracking down on distracted driving, and radio amateurs there are concerned that a recent revision to the state’s Motor Vehicle Code could affect Amateur Radio mobile operation. The old law, which included an Amateur Radio exemption, already prohibited motorists from using electronic wireless communication devices to write, send, or read a text-based communication while in motion, unless the device was configured for voice-operated and hands-free operation. The revised law does not exempt Amateur Radio.

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