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.
“The grassroots effort of Amateur Radio operators across this nation in support of the Amateur Radio Parity Act has been remarkable, nothing like we have ever seen before,” ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, said. “To all hams, keep going! Now is the time to charge forward with that same momentum to the Senate. We can do it!” The bill arrives in the U.S. Senate with ample time in which to garner its approval through an education campaign.
“We’re very encouraged by the speed with which this bill made it through the House. It’s amazing that this happened,” said ARRL Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, who has been at the forefront of the legislative initiative. “With the help of ARRL members, we believe we can get this done,” Lisenco continued. “We came within a hair’s breadth last time, with 110,000 e-mails to members of both houses of Congress, as well as letters and telephone calls. Member participation in this final push is critical.”
H.R. 555 calls on the FCC to establish rules prohibiting the application of deed restrictions that preclude Amateur Radio communications on their face or as applied. Deed restrictions would have to impose the minimum practicable restriction on Amateur Radio communications to accomplish the lawful purposes of homeowners association seeking to enforce the restriction.