Wednesday, January 16, 2019

ARRL to FCC: Incorporate Parity Act Provisions into Part 97

The ARRL has filed a petition for rulemaking with the FCC requesting the inclusion of provisions of the Amateur Radio Parity Act in its rules for the Amateur Radio Service. The bill is intended to protect the rights of amateurs to put up antennas and operate from homes that are covered by restrictive covenants or homeowner association rules, many of which prohibit outdoor antennas and/or any amateur radio operation. The Parity Act bill was passed by the House of Representatives but not by the Senate, and died at the end of the 2017-18 session of Congress. 
According to the ARRL Letter, the specific proposal is to add a new rule prohibiting the enactment or enforcement of any private land use restriction that fails to permit amateur radio operation, fails to permit installation of an effective outdoor antenna or does not meet the "minimum practicable restriction" standard that already applies to state and local laws and ordinances. The final language of the Parity Act bill - which the League wants incorporated into the FCC rules - was controversial because some antenna law experts felt it might cause more harm than good, requiring all amateurs living with private land use restrictions to request permission to put up any antenna, including those not currently required to do so.

The FCC had not taken any action on the petition prior to the federal government shutdown in early January.