4/28/09 - Attention Oregon State Amateur Radio Operators - HB2377

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kg7hq Fri, 04/24/2009 - 08:36

HB2377 is one of the mobile communication bills in the house that impacts
Ham radio, and it is heading to the House Floor for a vote in the next 7-10
days.

We need your help TODAY to try and defeat this bill. The only exemption for
Ham radio in the bill is during emergency or public service activities.

Please write your representative and ask them to vote against the bill for
the following reasons:

1. It is poorly written. The bill seeks to keep people focused on the road
but still allows people to takes their eyes off the road to dial and program
their phones.

2. Even Representatives on the committee were unsure during the Work Session
if the bill does what it is supposed to. Some believe could be interpreted
to exempt texting while others read the language differently.

3. One clause in the bill, allowing "activating or deactivating a mobile
device", is so vague it could allow nearly any activity depending on how the
phrase is interpreted.

Because the bill is so poorly written, at this point it is not necessary to
be concerned about the effect on amateur radio in your arguments to your
State Representative.

You can find your legislator by visiting this site:
http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/

You can email your legislator directly from this form:
http://www.leg.state.or.us/writelegsltr/

NOTE: Please keep your arguments against the bill confined to the points
above. It is important to send a unified message, and to send a message that
has the best arguments against the bill. Remember, the goal is to get a NO
vote from members. At this point, the best argument for a NO vote is that
the bill is poorly written and vague. An argument solely based on Ham
radio's concerns is not going to convince legislators to vote NO.

BACKGROUND:

Last weekend, after I sent out the section news for April, I learned that a
work session with the House Transportation Committee had been scheduled for
HB2377.

Normally the public is not allowed to testify at the work sessions but I
attended to listen. Rep. Boone from Clatsop County, was concerned about how
this would affect the ham radio operators so the chair of the committee
allowed me to come up and answer her questions. So the fact that some of the
Representatives recognize me and know I represent amateur radio has some
benefit.

I expressed my concerns about the issues with the bill. It passed the
Transportation Committee with the amendments anyway. Rep. Tomei claimed that
all my concerns were addressed. Rep. Boone came back to talk to me after the
work session and said she would make sure my concerns were addressed in the
final wording. I again expressed my concerns to her.

We will continue working on the floor of the House, and on the Senate side
if it passes the House. Since there is a tight timeframe, there is likely to
be a lot of opposition on the Senate side, and there were so many 'no' votes
from the House Transportation Committee, there is a very good chance that a
mobile communication bill will not pass this session.

Kevin Curry, KA7KYQ, recommended to me that I work with a specific
representative who is sympathetic to our cause and have a "floor letter"
distributed to all House members when it comes to the floor of the House. I
will begin working on that.

If it passes there, we will immediately begin working with the appropriate
committee on the Senate side. The Senate President is most likely going to
assign it to the Senate Business and Transportation Committee.

Please be assured that we are watching the bill. Many times when there is
movement, we have very little notice. This is particularly true late in the
legislative session. But either I will be at any hearings and work sessions
or I will make sure someone is there in my place. In addition I am building
a list of primary contacts around the state for each representative and
senator so I can make sure we can quickly make a quality contact from every
district. If you want to be my primary contact, please let me know who your
representative and senator is.

I will be working on getting a "floor letter" distributed and beginning to
make contacts with appropriate senate committee members.

I will keep you updated.

----------------------------------------------------------
ARRL Oregon Section
Section Manager: Bonnie M. Altus, AB7ZQ
ab7zq@arrl.org