Amateur Radio Study included in House-Passed Payroll Tax Bill

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011 (HR 3630) — the bill to extend the payroll tax reduction that passed the US House of Representatives on Tuesday, December 13 — includes among its many other provisions the “Jumpstarting Opportunity with Broadband Spectrum Act” or “JOBS Act” that passed the Communications and Technology Subcommittee on December 1. The JOBS Act makes up Title IV of HR 3630 and includes the following:


•(a) In General- Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the [Federal Communications] Commission, in consultation with the Office of Emergency Communications in the Department of Homeland Security, shall–
•(1) complete a study on the uses and capabilities of amateur radio service communications in emergencies and disaster relief; and
•(2) submit to the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate a report on the findings of such study.
•(b) Contents- The study required by subsection (a) shall include–
•(1)(A) a review of the importance of emergency amateur radio service communications relating to disasters, severe weather, and other threats to lives and property in the United States; and
•(B) recommendations for–
•(i) enhancements in the voluntary deployment of amateur radio operators in disaster and emergency communications and disaster relief efforts; and
•(ii) improved integration of amateur radio operators in the planning and furtherance of initiatives of the Federal Government; and
•(2)(A) an identification of impediments to enhanced amateur radio service communications, such as the effects of unreasonable or unnecessary private land use restrictions on residential antenna installations; and
•(B) recommendations regarding the removal of such impediments.
•(c) Expertise- In conducting the study required by subsection (a), the Commission shall use the expertise of stakeholder entities and organizations, including the amateur radio, emergency response, and disaster communications communities.
Such a study has long been sought by the ARRL.

HR 3630 is now up for consideration in the Senate where its prospects for passage are dimmed by the inclusion of a controversial provision concerning a pipeline project.