Friday, October 7, 2011

ARRL Legislative Action Request to Members in Oklahoma

My name is Dan Henderson, N1ND and I am the Regulatory Information Manager for the ARRL, working at the ARRL headquarters in Newington CT.  I also am the staff liaison for the Legislative Action – Grassroots program.  It is in this capacity that I am contacting you.

As you are probably aware, the ARRL continues its attempts to obtain PRB-1 protection for those amateurs who are restricted because of conditions, covenants and deed restrictions.  These CC&Rs in most cases severely constrain Amateurs from erecting even modest antennas and support structures.


To help address this situation Senators Joe Lieberman (CT) and Susan Collins (ME) in 2009 introduced Senate bill 1755 - the
"Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act ," - into the US Senate.  This bill directs the US Department of Homeland Security to undertake a study of how CC&Rs affect Amateur Radio operators' ability to support emergency and public service communications. The goal of this study is to provide a factual study documenting these impediments and report back to Congress.  In late 2009, the US Senate unanimously passed S 1755 and sent it to the House of Representatives for their consideration.  The House did not take up the bill last year and S 1755 died.

PRB-1 states that local governmental jurisdictions
must reasonably accommodate such communications and must constitute the minimum practicable regulation to accomplish the state or local authority's legitimate purpose. The ARRL has long championed extending the PRB-1 protections to include CC&Rs. While the "Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Act" is not the last step in obtaining that extension, it is the next step, hopefully bringing us closer to our goal.

After the new Congress convened in 2011, Senators Lieberman and Collins again introduced the
"Amateur Radio Emergency Communications  Enhancement Act," which has been designated S 191.  The bill has been approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.  However, under the rules of the US Senate, any Senator may put a "hold" on a bill, which keeps the bill from being referred by Committee to the full Senate.  At this time, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn has placed a "hold" on S 191.  His concern is that the bill may be used as a way for the Amateur Radio community to seek some kind of grant or public funding.  Although ARRL officials have assured him this is not the case, the hold remains in place.

We need your help!  Below you will find a draft sample letter, addressed to Senator Coburn, asking him to release his hold on S 191, so that it can be considered by the full Senate.  We need you, as a resident of Oklahoma and constituent of Senator Coburn, to make your voice heard!


After reading the draft letter, I ask you to do the following:

1) Add your name and mailing address to the bottom.
2) Print and sign the letter (unsigned letters are not effective).
3) Send your signed letter directly to the ARRL's Washington representation firm, Chwat & Co either by

     US Mail - Send to:            John Chwat
                                              Chwat & Co.
                                              625 Slaters Lane
                                              Suite 103
                                              Alexandria, VA 22314

      Fax - Send to:                703-684-7594

We ask the letter be sent to Chwat & Co for a reason:  It allows our Washington team to hand-deliver them, which also affords them the opportunity to meet face-to-face with the Senator or his staff.  This "face time" allows an additional opportunity to get our message across to them.


The Senate has been gaveled back into session and now is the time to act. I hope that you will send your letter to Senator Coburn in the next few days.


If you have any questions on this issue, please contact me at
n1nd@arrl.org  I will be pleased to try to answer them.  THANKS for your attention to this matter.  You CAN make a difference!

73

Dan Henderson N1ND






United States Senate
172 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510


Dear Senator Coburn:


We thank you for your service in the United States Senate and appreciate your efforts to curtail federal spending and provide more accountability to government.


However, we understand from the ARRL, the national organization for Amateur Radio
which represents over 700,000 Amateur Radio licensees (including almost 9,500 in
Oklahoma), that you have placed a “hold” on S.191, the “Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications Act,” a bill that requests a report from the Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) on how Amateurs can provide emergency officials with additional
volunteer help in disasters and severe weather events – assistance that helps save lives
and property. You are aware of Amateur Radio's volunteer activities in Oklahoma to
help government agencies and charitable relief organizations save people's lives when our state has experienced disasters such as tornados.


S. 191 passed out of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Committee last April, and is pending on the Senate Floor. The same bill passed
under unanimous consent in the US Senate in the 111th Congress.


We understand that you feel this bill might be an effort by our Amateur Radio
community to seek funds or grants from DHS. That is not the case. We are very much
interested in the DHS completing this study on how we can become a more effective
volunteer resource to public services agencies. One of these recommendations may
impact the use of antennas to communicate in times when cell phones or other methods
are not available. S. 191 will allow us to better integrate the Amateur Service with
emergency management in Oklahoma – and across the US.


We respectfully request that you please release your hold on S.191 so that it may be
considered by the full Senate and be referred to the House.


Sincerely,


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