Friday, September 26, 2014

H.R. 4969 update from N3KN #ARRL #hamradio

I would like to bring you up to date on H.R. 4969, but first I want to thank you for your help and that of the members in your Sections.  If you will be doing newsletters or other communications with your members in the next few weeks, please let them know that their efforts are important and appreciated. The official list of cosponsors can be found, sorted alphabetically, at

Congress had very few days in session in September, but we added 30 co-sponsors to the official list during that time. ARRL Directors Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, and Dick Isely, W9GIG, went to Washington in September to visit Congressional offices, as did President Kay Craigie, N3KN, and General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD.  Dozens of offices were visited.  Meanwhile, in the home districts, ARRL elected officials, appointed officials, and members met with Congressmen and their staffs to urge co-sponsorship.  Members all over the country phoned local Congressional offices and sent e-mails via Congressmen’s web pages.  Members also sent postal letters via ARRL HQ, some of them generated at Amateur Radio conventions.  This all-member effort is how we went from 17 co-sponsors on August 1 to 47 on September 18.

We have e-mail and oral commitments from more than half a dozen additional Congressmen to become co-sponsors of H.R. 4969.  Members of Congress can become co-sponsors only when Congress is in session, not during a recess.  Because Congress packed up and went home to campaign on September 19, some Representatives didn’t have time to get their co-sponsorship made official before the recess.   There will be follow-up with the offices of those Congressmen to make sure their co-sponsorship shows up on the official list as soon as possible after Congress reconvenes in November.

What about ARRL members who wrote, e-mailed, and phoned their Congressmen, but the Representatives haven’t become co-sponsors?  Was this time and effort wasted?  Absolutely not.  At the very least, these Congressional offices now know that Amateur Radio exists in their districts and that Amateurs have interests which deserve notice.  A lot of politics is based on relationships.  Contacts made with members of Congress about H.R. 4969 contribute to establishing relationships that can be maintained and enhanced in the future.  Does your Congressman know how Amateur Radio makes your district a safer place to live if disasters occur?  Does your Congressman know how Amateurs in your district introduce young people to hands-on experience of how wireless communications work, laying the foundation for careers?  Realistically, we won’t get support for H.R. 4969 from every member of Congress who is contacted by Amateurs.  What we certainly can do is to build relationships that will serve our interests – and the public interest – if not right now, then in the future.

Members whose Congressmen have become co-sponsors are encouraged to thank their Representatives by phone, e-mail, or postal mail.  It’s good manners and good relationship-building strategy.  Members can also seek out opportunities during the present recess to make the case for the bill at local offices and events. In short:  Keep on!

73, Kay N3KN

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