Last week, The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee was scheduled to mark-up S 1534 The Amateur Radio Parity Act (a.k.a. HAM radio legislation) when it was withdrawn from the docket. Florida Senator Bill Nelson and Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz cosponsored and filed an amendment with their fellow Senators on the Senate Commerce Committee. The original Senate bill sponsors, Connecticut Senator Blumenthal and Missouri Senator Roger Wicker are said to have disliked the amendment to their bill, so the bill was pulled from the docket and will be rescheduled for November.
The HAM radio lobby has been pursuing legislation that would pre-empt community association covenants for the installation of HAM radio towers and antennas. In 2016, CAI worked with Members of the House of Representatives offices (Eschoo (CA) and Wicker (OR)) to represent the interests of residents living in homeowners associations and to protect their private property rights and private contracts with their community association.
CAI members do not support federal legislation to preempt the private contracts and agreements that bind property owners who have voluntarily opted to purchase a home in a community association – also known as condominiums, housing cooperatives, and homeowners associations. This view is consistent with the verified, long-term views of the overwhelming majority of community association homeowners who have responded in multiple national surveys they do not believe their community association should be subjected to additional government regulation or intervention.
Senators Nelson and Schatz are uniquely positioned to speak about the impact of the legislation as they serve states with an approaching majority of the residents living in a community association. They have a keen understanding of the condo and homeowner association housing model and a keen understanding of this legislation.
As such, the Nelson-Schatz amendment to S. 1534 is a measurable improvement to residents living in community associations as it provides important clarity that will mitigate the need for jurisprudence.
CAI has been involved in dialogue on this issue for the past few years and will continue to engage in the important dialogue to represent the interests of the 68 million people living in community associations. For history and background on the issue, visit www.caionline.org/hamradios
Dawn Bauman, CAE
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