Monday, January 12, 2015

Oklahoma legislation may impact #hamradio #ARRL

Your Section Public Information Coordinator, who also serves as a legislative
liason, sent this report:

Thanks Michael, K5MFD:

The new legislative session opens this week and at this point there are two bills, one in the house and one in the senate that may impact use of our radios in our vehicles.

House Bill 1009 introduced by Rep. David Perryman, D-Chickasha, is the anti-texting bill.  It only would make it unlawful for anyone driving on a public street or highway in this state to use a cellular telephone or other electronic communication device to “compose, send or read a text-based communication while the motor vehicle is in motion.” The bill defines a text message to include “a text-based message, instant message, electronic message or electronic mail.”  This bill is the one Oklahoma American Automobile Association (AAA) supports.

I have spoken the Chuck Mai, Public Affairs and Marketing Director for Oklahoma AAA, and he understands our need to be able to use our radios in our vehicles.  He told me that if the Oklahoma amateur radio community will support this bill, he will do everything he can to insure that it does not impact our hobby and the emergency communications we provide.

The other bill is Senate Bill 67 introduced by Sen. Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee.  This bill would negatively impact our ability to drive and communicate via our ham radios.  Specifically in part it reads:

“The operator of every vehicle, while driving, shall devote their his
or her full time and attention to such driving. An operator of a vehicle
cannot be communicating with a handheld electronic device, either
verbally or by typing an email or text during the physical operation of
a motor vehicle.
No law enforcement officer shall issue a citation under this section
unless the law enforcement officer observes that the operator of the
vehicle is involved in an accident or observes the operator of the
vehicle driving in such a manner that poses an articulable danger to
other persons on the roadway that is not otherwise specified in
B. The fine for violating the provisions of subsection A of this
section shall not exceed the statutory penalty of a misdemeanor.
SECTION 2. This act shall become effective November 1, 2015.”

Rep. Perryman has indicated he may co-sponsor Senator Sharp’s bill or sign on to it as a house sponsor.

We will continue to work with AAA to insure we are impacted by this legislation.  Additionally, I have ask my contacts at the Department of Public Safety if they have any numbers of driver distracted accidents involving amateur radio.  I doubt there are any.  And if that is the case, we may meet with the two legislators to gain an exception to our
use of our radio in our vehicles.

Thank you, again, Michael, for this report.  The League is aware of this issue and uses to monitor this and other legislation impacting our hobby.

Your section leadership will make you aware of changes in the bills and advise you of action you may wish to take.


Lloyd, KC5FM

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