By now you should have heard from the ARRL that the Amateur Radio Parity Act, the Federal version, did not get through the US Senate but was tabled as a result of one Senator, Bill Nelson (Democrat), of Florida. This was the same Bill (HR-1301) that had received unanimous voice vote and passed without objection in the US House. In much the same way, we in Missouri experienced the same result last legislative session when our Bill, HB1951, was stalled out in the Senate committee by Chairman Sen. Rob Schaaf, District 34.
We now have the opportunity to learn from the past and get our Missouri Bill all the way through to the finish line. This time we will get organized and ask our partner emergency management agencies (ARES, SEMA, EMA, NWS, Police Chiefs, Fire Chiefs, local politicians, etc) to support this legislation and demonstrate to the legislators that we, in fact, do have significant public support. Representative Bryan Spencer, District 63, has already pre-filed our Bill, HB136, and will bring it to the House in early January when the new legislative session begins. A copy of the text of our Bill (which, by the way, is the same version as amended last year) is available on our Facebook page, Missouri Amateur Radio Parity Act (MARPA). https://www.facebook.com/groups/163548427426968/. If you have not already joined our FB page, we encourage you to do so now so that you can stay updated with our progress. Realizing that many of you are not active on Facebook, we are developing a website, too, to promote our campaign. We will make this site known as soon as it is available. In addition to our FB page, we also have an online petition through Change.org that we need all hams, their families, friends and neighbors to sign. This will also help demonstrate the strong support we have across the State of Missouri for this legislation. This petition can be found on our Facebook page and will also be added to the website. https://www.change.org/p/missouri-state-house-missouri-amateur-radio-parity-act-house-bill-136?recruiter=516412445&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink. We currently have nearly 300 signatures but we need thousands. Please share this with everyone.
As we prepare to succeed with this effort, it is imperative that we become much more organized and have a strategy to achieve our goals this time around. Therefore, we are dividing the state into five (5) regions: 1) St. Louis/Northeast Missouri; 2) Cape Girardeau/Southeast Missouri; 3) Springfield/Southwest Missouri; 4) Kansas City/Northwest Missouri and 5) Jefferson City/Central Missouri. We need volunteers from each of these regions to serve as Regional Coordinators to be the contact liaison to insure that all hams in their respective regions are encouraged to join in the effort to rally support from their elected officials (representatives, senators, mayors, aldermen, councilmen, etc). It would also be helpful if these individuals were either personally active or had relationships with the emergency management agencies we listed earlier. At the very least we want to motivate our partners provide us with documents showing the value of the Amateur Radio Service to their respective agencies. We are accepting nominations and recommendations for these five regional coordinators now. If you or someone you know is willing to serve in this capacity please contact Larry Scantlan, KEØKZ, by email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone (636) 699-2614. If you have any questions about what the coordinator’s responsibilities are, please don’t hesitate to ask. The sooner we can get these folks in place the better. We are developing contact lists for each of the Missouri State Representatives so that you can begin letting them know that we ask for their support. Let’s begin calling on our state representatives to support this legislation now by becoming co-sponsors. We already have three co-sponsors: Rep. Robert Cornejo; Rep. Jim Neely; and Rep. Justin Hill.
An interview (podcast) we did with Christian Cudnik, KØSTH, of 100 Watts and A Wire, was just released and is available now at the following link: http://100wattsandawire.com/100-watts-and-a-wire/episode77. We hope to be doing podcasts/newsletters with a number of other online media such as QRZ.com, ARRL Letter, Amateur Radio Newsline, Ham Nation, The WAØRCR Gateway 160 Meter Radio Newsletter and more. If you know of any other sources that could help us get the word out, please let us know.
Just as we did last time, we will be looking to the ARRL and their Missouri Section Manager, Cecil Higgins, ACØHA, to assist us in getting the word out to the local membership. We will also be utilizing the numerous amateur radio clubs, repeaters clubs, school clubs, and others, to spread the word. We can and we will succeed this time with your help. Remember, though you may not be currently affected by Homeowner Association restrictions (CC&R’s), a very large portion of your ham friends are. And, someday in the near future you may find your situation change as a result of a job change or some other life event. While you may try to do everything you can to avoid these restrictions, the reality is that today the choices are much fewer. By law all new housing subdivisions/developments are required to have an HOA and consequently, antenna restrictions most of which are totally prohibitive. We can help us all by supporting this legislation and limiting those restrictions for those who need it now and for future generations. Let’s demonstrate why Missouri is called the “Show Me State” by showing how we can come together and get the job done.
Larry Scantlan, KEØKZ