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Default ARRL Legislative Update - January 31 2011

ARRL Legislative Update - Issue # 1

January 31, 2011

What, another Newsletter?

I know you are asking yourself - "What, another newsletter? Why?"

There could be many answers to this question, but the best is probably
"Because the ARRL needs to keep its members better informed on what we
are doing in the area of advocacy and legislative action."

This will not be a monthly newsletter. Rather it will be a timely
newsletter with the goal to convey important information in a timely
manner to the ARRL family. The legislative process is a fickle thing -
sometimes it moves as slow as molasses in a New England winter; at other
points time is of the essence. Developing a newsletter designed to be
emailed to interested ARRL members is a good way to provide important
news and calls for action expediently.

No general member will be automatically signed-up to receive this
newsletter: it is an "opt-in" addition available to ARRL members. To
receive it, go to your Member Profile on the ARRL Web at and select the tab for "Edit Email
Subscriptions". To receive the Legislative Update when it is mailed,
simply check the appropriate box on that page then click "SAVE" at the
bottom. It is that simple. To unsubscribe, follow the same process,
but uncheck the box for this newsletter.

The ARRL Legislative Update will focus on ARRL Legislative and Advocacy
efforts at the national level. Your local ARRL Section Managers and
their State Government Liaisons manage activities at the state level.
At times there may be significant efforts at the state level that should
be shared in the ARRL Legislative Update, but for regular information on
what's happening at the state or local efforts, contact your ARRL
Section Manager.

A Message from ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN

Dear Fellow League Members,

The ARRL's advocacy for Amateur Radio on Capitol Hill is almost as old
as the organization itself. In 1917, just three years after the ARRL was
founded, and again in 1918, we joined with other radio interests in
successfully opposing legislation that would have granted control over
all radio communications to the Navy. Members were asked to write to
their elected representatives in support of this effort.

After World War I ended in November 1918, Amateurs were allowed to
receive radio transmissions, but the wartime ban on Amateur Radio
transmitting continued in effect. The League's initial efforts to get
hams back on the air were deflected with bureaucratic sandbagging. The
Navy was again seeking control over international radio communications.
Only after the ARRL arranged introduction of resolutions in Congress was
the ban lifted, allowing Amateurs to resume transmitting -- a year after
the war was over.

If the ARRL, with the support of our members, had not spoken out for
Amateur Radio on Capitol Hill in those early days of radio and gotten us
back on the air, would there even be ham radio in the United States

The League's advocacy in Congress was important then, and it is
important now. The ARRL Washington team does our part, but Senators and
Representatives listen best to you, their constituents. You can tell
them specific examples of how Amateur Radio makes a difference in your
state and your Congressional district. You can get their attention for
Amateur Radio in ways no one else can do.

Please join me in continuing the ARRL's work as the authoritative voice
speaking for Amateur Radio on Capitol Hill, as this new session of
Congress gets under way.


Kay Craigie, N3KN

President, ARRL

A Message from ARRL Executive Vice-President / CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ

Dear Member,

Thank you for reading this far in our inaugural Legislative Update. Your
support of the ARRL's efforts to promote Amateur Radio on Capitol Hill
is essential to our success.

That success is not measured only by bills that are passed and signed
into law. At least as important is that we prevent unfavorable
legislation from advancing to the President's desk. The ARRL legislative
agenda for the 112th Congress includes our hopes for legislation to
enhance our ability to serve our country and our neighbors as well as to
guard against Congressional actions that would diminish our rights as
federal licensees. Threats often come in the form of unintended
consequences of well-meaning legislation, as in the case of "distracted
driving" bills that are aimed against unsafe driving practices but are
sometimes too vague or too broad.

You have a good team working on your behalf in Washington. Please count
yourself as a part of that team - we do!


David Sumner, K1ZZ

Chief Executive Officer

ARRL Legislative Agenda for the 112th Congress

At its annual meeting in January 2011, the ARRL Board of Directors
unanimously adopted the following legislative objectives for the 112th

Objective #1: The ARRL seeks legislation to extend the requirement for
"reasonable accommodation" of Amateur Radio station antennas and antenna
support structures (requirement that now applies to state and local
regulations) to all forms of land use regulation.

Objective #2: The ARRL opposes legislation that would lead to the
reallocation of amateur spectrum or to sharing arrangements that reduce
the utility of existing allocations.

Objective #3: The ARRL opposes legislation that diminishes the rights of
federal licensees in favor of unlicensed emitters or encourages the
deployment of spectrum-polluting technologies.

Objective #4: The ARRL seeks recognition of the unique resources,
capabilities and expertise of the Amateur Radio Service in any
legislation addressing communications issues related to emergencies,
disasters, or homeland security.

Objective #5: The ARRL supports the complementary legislative objectives
of other radiocommunication services, particularly the public safety and
scientific services that require spectrum access and protection from
interference for noncommercial purposes that benefit the public.

Objective #6: The ARRL opposes "distracted driving" legislation that
does not clearly exempt two-way mobile radio transmitters or receivers
used by licensees of the Federal Communications Commission in the
Amateur Radio Service.

Objective #7: The ARRL supports The FCC Commissioners' Technical
Resources Enhancement Act to ensure that Commissioners have adequate
access to technical expertise when making decisions."

Over the next months, ARRL members will be kept informed about our plan
of action for moving this agenda forward. You will at times be asked to
send letters to key members of Congress and the Senate to help them
gauge the wishes of their constituents (that is YOU) on various pieces
of legislation. When we ask you to act, we encourage you to do so
promptly, as time is of the essence as we try to coordinate our response
with the various timetables when pieces of legislation are being

To keep the legislative interests of Amateurs moving, remember the most
important piece of this puzzle is YOU! With maximum member
participation, we can make this happen! Get Involved!

Some Basic Questions and Answers

Q. Who determines the ARRL Legislative Agenda?

A. The ARRL Board of Directors is the policy maker for the
organization. The Executive Committee, working in conjunction with the
ARRL Washington team, makes recommendations for consideration by the
full Board. After discussion and debate, the Board votes upon the
policy goals.

Q. Who is this company Chwat & Co that I hear about and what is their

A. The ARRL has retained the Washington firm of Chwat & Co to assist in
developing the most effective action program. Headed by John Chwat, the
firm monitors the activities of Congress, identifying legislation that
could possibly impact the Amateur Radio Service. When the ARRL decides
to promote or influence legislation, Chwat & Co spearheads direct ARRL
contact with key legislators and their staffs.

Q. Why are we asked to send letters to Chwat & Co to deliver to our
members of Congress? Why should I do that instead of contacting my
member directly?

A. There are several reasons. First, when letters from constituents are
hand-delivered to a Congressional office, it gives our Washington team
the opportunity to have some direct "face time" with the Congressperson
and/or their key staff. Hand delivering a stack of letters supporting a
bill makes a greater impact than having those letters trickle in through
the US mail system.

Because of security concerns, when you mail a letter to your member of
Congress, it is automatically directed to a warehouse in Maryland for
security screening, including tests for possible dangerous substances.
This can delay delivery of even routine letters by up to six weeks.

Q. I noticed on my Congressperson's website a form where I can send in
my comments using a web form. Should I use that instead of mailing a
letter to Chwat?

A. While those web forms are convenient for constituent use, our
Washington team says they really are not effective communications for a
concerted lobbying effort. Again, the impact of several dozen letters
being hand-delivered to the Congressional office is far more effective
than a web form or telephone calls to their office.

Q. I have sent my letters to Chwat's office as directed in the past, but
never heard back from the Congressman's office. Should I be concerned
that my letter wasn't delivered?

A. Rest assured that all letters received by our Washington lobbyist's
office are delivered to the appropriate Congressional office. Different
members of Congress are not always as efficient as others in sending
acknowledgements to their constituents.

HR 81 -"The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act" - is
introduced into the 112th House of Representatives

On January 5, 2011, Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX) introduced
"The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act of 2011"
into the US House of Representatives. Congresswoman Jackson-Lee
introduced the same bill that was previously identified as HR 2160 into
the 111th Congress. Identified this session as HR 81, the bill has been
referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

In the 111th Congress, HR 2160 secured the support and co-sponsorship of
41 members of the House, but was not moved out of committee for
consideration by the full House. Though not enacted, the support
received for HR 2160 was significant, which led Congresswoman
Jackson-Lee to reintroduce the bill, now assigned a new number, to the
new Congress.

S 191 - "The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act" -
is introduced into the 112th Senate

Senator Joe Lieberman (CT), again with the initial co-sponsorship of
Senator Susan Collins (ME), introduced "The Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications Enhancement Act" into the US Senate on January 26, 2011.
The bill is nearly identical to S 1755, which unanimously passed the
Senate in the fall of 2009 and was sent to the House of Representatives
for consideration. According to THOMAS (The Library of Congress website
that provides information on legislation), as of January 31, the text of
the bill has not yet been received from the GPO.

What's Simmering On The Stove?

When it comes to legislative affairs and regulatory issues, it is often
compared to trying to take aim on a moving target. What may be the "hot
button" issue today may well be "yesterday's news" in a month. Getting
ARRL members accurate information in a timely manner leads to those same
ARRL members taking quick action when asked to contact their
Representatives or Senators about an issue

Over the next several weeks, the ARRL Washington team will be making
contacts with key legislators and Congressional staffers, as we plan our
strategy for promoting S 191 and HR 81. After that plan has been
finalized, ARRL will be using its resources - QST, the ARRL Web, this
Legislative Update newsletter, the Grassroots program, and one-on-one
member contacts - to help get the word out. That call for action will
be the cue for you - the ARRL membership - to begin YOUR lobbying of
Congress on these key bills.

We came tantalizingly close to achieving success in the 111th Congress.
With your help, we can be successful in the 112th Congress. Stay tuned
for more information and direction plans of action! 73

Dan Henderson, N1ND

ARRL Regulatory Information Manager &

Grassroots Program Liaison


Phone: (860-594-0236)

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