N.C. no HAM exemption in SB 364 - Action needed.

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NC1

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Attached is a letter from ARRL that is self explanatory and changes need to be made on Senate Bill 364 in order to maintain the right to operate Amateur Radio mobile in North Carolina.
Please fill out a copy of the letter with your personal information and email to all your elected officials that are listed for your county.
You can copy and paste into a open email and type in your information. All of our members and guests need to submit a letter. Feel free to add your personal comments if you wish.

You can find your representatives here:
NCGA - Representation

Here is the sample letter -----------------------

TO: The Honorable <your State Senator’s name>
NC Senate District <your State Senate District number>

RE: Amateur Radio exemption in SB 364, the Brian Gorlack Act

Dear Senator <your State Senator’s name>

On behalf of North Carolina’s 20,000 federally licensed Amateur Radio
operators, I am writing to ask for your consideration to insert in SB364
an exemption for Amateur Radio operators. Amateur Radio operators, or
“Hams” as they have been nicknamed for the past century, have a
long and rich history of public service in times of disaster. A
strategic partner with North Carolina Emergency Management (NCEM) and
NGOs like North Carolina Baptist Men’s Relief, Hams have been
deployed as recently as Hurricane Matthew to aid affected North
Carolinians. Amateur Radio is a volunteer, tax-free resource and
service, saving the state millions of dollars if their services had to
be replicated commercially. The NCDOT recognizes Amateur Radio
operators as First Responders, and issues license plates, which
designate them as such. Much of what Hams accomplish in public service
must be done while mobile. The safety record of Amateur Radio use while
mobile is pristine. Please insert an Amateur Radio exemption in SB364
so Amateur Radio operators can continue to be a tax-free service to the
State of North Carolina and its citizens. I am grateful for your
consideration.

Sincerely,

<your name and call sign>
<your mailing address>
<your city, NC, zip code>
<your telephone number>

End letter----------------------------

This is very important to all of us, even the scanner enthusiasts.

Thank You for your help in getting this exemption in place.
 

garys

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Is this a "hands free phone" bill or a "no scanners in the car" bill?
 

garys

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Amazingly, if you are enlisting people to help you, it's important to include the necessary information and not make the go look for themselves. The easier you make something like this for people, the more of them will make an effort.

I've done enough advocacy on issues to have a good idea of how it works.

The former, plus everything else you need to put a hand on to use while driving. See the link for the text of the bill...amazingly, Google knew right where it was.:)

SB 364 (Edition 1)
 

DJ11DLN

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Amazingly, if you are enlisting people to help you, it's important to include the necessary information and not make the go look for themselves. The easier you make something like this for people, the more of them will make an effort.

I've done enough advocacy on issues to have a good idea of how it works.
I agree with all of this...I was just enjoying a moment of humor. Sorry if it did not come across that way.
 

garys

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I'm not a lawyer, don't play one on TV, and haven't stayed at a Holiday Inn Express since New Year's. With all that in mind, this is how I see this bill.

The intent is to keep people from using their cell phones, tablets, smart phones, iPhones, and so on while they are driving.

It's not very well written and the wording is very vague. Read literally, this could be interpreted to include public safety vehicles and personnel. If you read the definition of Electronic communication device, it includes two&#8209;way messaging device, and a portable computing device.

A two way radio is a "two way messaging device" and "a portable computing device", could be a mobile computer terminal used in a police car, fire truck, or ambulance.

This section,

This term does not include equipment installed and used in a motor vehicle for the purposes of (i) providing emergency assistance, information, or other services to the person operating the motor vehicle... COULD be interpreted to protect ham radio operators, while not protecting public safety officers.

Sloppy construction of a law can and will lead to sloppy interpretation. I understand the intent of the law, but the wording is going to cause problems.

You can start by contacting Senators Tarte, Lee, and Ballard, who are the primary sponsors of the bill in the Senate.

Also, contact your individual legislators. Make sure you are registered to vote. That is the first thing that their staff will look at, followed by if you're on their donor list. If you're not registered to vote, your email or letter will be tossed out.

The bill has been referred to "Rules and Operations of the Senate". Look that up at the NC Legislature web site. Then write letters or emails to everyone on that committee.

Because this bill is named for someone (presumably deceased), it's likely to get a lot of push from the media. Start your campaign to modify the bill early.

Point out the errors, including the public safety stuff. Then mention that Ham Radio operators provide all sorts of public service (not safety) functions.

Also, contact the ARRL. They have people who do this stuff and are good at it.
 

WA4MJF

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Some folks did not read thru the whole bill. This answers some of the questions raised in the above comments.
(f) Exceptions. &#8211; The provisions of subsection (b) of this section shall not apply to any of the following:

(1) .................

(5) The use of a mobile telephone or electronic communication device by any of the following while in the performance of, and for a purpose related to, their official duties:

a. A law enforcement officer.

b. A member of a fire department.

c. A first responder.

d. The operator of a public or private ambulance.
 
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kr4ub

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Orange County, North Carolina
Federal Preemption also not considered......

The other issue is Federal Premption is not taken into account of any state or local law in the use of Amateur radio... Here is what I included in my letters to the senators and also given at public hearing when Chapel Hill considered such legislation.

RE: Amateur Radio exemption in SB 364, the Brian Gorlack Act

Dear Senator
On behalf of North Carolina’s 20,000 federally licensed Amateur Radio operators, I am writing to ask for your
consideration to insert in SB364 an exemption for Amateur Radio operators. Amateur Radio operators, or “Hams”
as they have been nicknamed for the past century, have a long and rich history of public service in times of
disaster.

-------------- added text regarding preemption..

While I am sure you have received many emails regarding the matter, I would like to point out, as
written, this bill is likely in conflict with Federal law.

In reading about the proposed ban on the use of electronic devices in automobiles, it would appear that broad
wording also covers mobile operation of Amateur Radio which is regulated solely by the Federal Communications
Commission.

I am sure you are aware of Federal Pre-Emption, that is, the principle of federal law that not only
regulates certain areas, federal law pre-empts further State and Local law in conflict with federal law.
Over the years there have of course been legislation proposed by State and Local authorities in conflict with federal
law. The FCC has a vigorous history of defending its sole authority to regulate areas in its domain as authorized by
Congress.

If SB-364 goes forward, I strongly recommend the bill incorporate wording as included in the link below,
excluding Amateur Radio Operation in order to avoid your ordinance being in conflict with federal law.

http://www.arrl.org/files/file/MobileAmateurRadioPolicyStatement.pdf

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) also has a long track record of bringing before the Commission,
Requests for Issuance of Declaratory Rulings on ordinances that go beyond the scope of authority granted to
States and Local Governments.

Lastly, for your information, the link below is a ruling by the FCC that, while not specific to the cell phone issue,
does include a number of findings on the safety of mobile Amateur Radio operations and recites the authority of the
FCC to act and respond to state and local laws that are in conflict with federal law.

http://www.arrl.org/files/file/pr91-36.pdf

I hope you will find it in your wisdom to incorporate the above in any action you elect to take on this matter.

regards,
 

garys

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Either my eyes are going (possible) or that was not in the version I read just yesterday.

Some folks did not read thru the whole bill. This answers some of the questions raised in the above comments.
(f) Exceptions. – The provisions of subsection (b) of this section shall not apply to any of the following:

(1) .................

(5) The use of a mobile telephone or electronic communication device by any of the following while in the performance of, and for a purpose related to, their official duties:

a. A law enforcement officer.

b. A member of a fire department.

c. A first responder.

d. The operator of a public or private ambulance.
 

kr4ub

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NC General Statue 20-79.4 (Amateur License Plate) requires radios to be in vehicle.

One other point I forgot to include in the above letter is that North Carolina Statue Chapter_20 GS_20-79.4 which is the statute authorizing the issuance of a vehicle Amateur Radio license plate, makes it a condition that the applicant must assert that amateur radio communication equipment is carried in the vehicle....

I don't think the intent of that statute was to require amateur radio equipment to be carried in the vehicle as a condition of obtaining the amateur radio license plate and then be illegal to use it.

I suggest all writing a letter or email to their senator include the quote of GS-20-79.4


Chapter_20/GS_20-79.4 http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_20/GS_20-79.4.html

Excerpt from GS 20-79.4. Special registration plates....
(a1) Qualifying for a Special Plate. - In order to qualify for a special plate, an applicant shall meet all of the qualifications set out in this section. The Division of Motor Vehicles shall verify the qualifications of an individual to whom any special plate is issued to ensure only qualified applicants receive the requested special plates.

(9) Amateur Radio Operator. - Issuable to an amateur radio operator who holds an unexpired and unrevoked amateur radio license issued by the Federal Communications Commission and who asserts to the Division that a portable transceiver is carried in the vehicle. The plate shall bear the phrase "Amateur Radio". The plate shall bear the operator's official amateur radio call letters, or call letters with numerical or letter suffixes so that an owner of more than one vehicle may have the call letters on each.
 
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KF4NVX

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Penrose, NC EM85qg
Form letter for your NC State Senator

Senator ____________:

As a proud North Carolina Citizen, a licensed Amateur radio operator and frequent driver on the roads of this state I am fully in support of Senate Bill 364 also known as the &#8220;Brian Garlock Act&#8221; to prevent distracted driving on our roads. I would urge this bill to be passed with the highest priority and I strongly encourage you to support this bill.

However, I would like to see additional exceptions made for the use of Amateur Radio and similar two-way radios in the legislative language of S364. In a letter to the Amateur Radio Relay League which represents a majority of licensed Amateur operators in the US, National Safety Council President Janet Froetscher stated:

"We are not aware of evidence that using amateur radios while driving has significant crash risks. We also have no evidence that using two-way radios while driving poses significant crash risks. Until such time as compelling, peer-reviewed scientific research is presented that denotes significant risks associated with the use of amateur radios, two-way radios or other communication devices, the NSC does not support legislative bans or prohibition on their use.&#8221; August 24th, 2009
Janet Froetscher, President - National Safety Council

(w ww.arrl.org/news/national-safety-council-responds-to-arrl-no-evidence-of-quot-significant-crash-risks-quot-while-oper )

Typically, the intention of this type of legislation is to prohibit the operation of cellular telephones specifically, and devices incorporating full duplex wireless telephones, while operating a motor vehicle. The use of these devices requires the driver to divert attention from the roadway and focus on the device. Two-way radio use is dissimilar from full-duplex cellular telephone communications because the operator spends little time actually transmitting; the time spent listening is more similar to, and arguably less distracting than, listening to a broadcast radio, CD or MP3 player. There are no distinctions to be made between or among Amateur Radio, public safety land mobile radio, private land mobile radio, or citizen&#8217;s radio in terms of driver distraction. All are distinguishable from mobile cellular telephone communications in this respect.

In searching the laws and statutes of other states in the nation, many of them allow similar exemptions for the use of Amateur, CB and other similar services. The language allowing these exemptions is similar to the following:

(#) The use of a two way radio of the following nature:
a. A driver using two-way radio transmitters or receivers for licensees of the Federal Communications Commission in the Amateur Radio service;
b. A driver using two-way radio transmitters or receivers for Citizens Band radio service, Family Radio Service , General Mobile Radio Service, or similar Federal Communication Commission regulated radio service;


As this bill is discussed, I would ask that you consider modifying the bill with amendments to reflect these exemptions in further readings of S364 the Senate floor. If you may have any questions or concerns regarding Amateur Radio please feel free to contact me via e-mail (---------@--------.---) or by telephone ( ###-###-#### ).
I thank you for your time and also for your service to this Great State of North Carolina
Sincerely,
 
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kb4mdz

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Cary, NC
There is also no exception for use of a business radio, such as tow truck driver, taxi driver, delivery driver, trucker in the construction industry, nor school busses, and I'm sure several others.

Very poorly written. And as someone has suggested already, sloppily written laws lead to sloppy interpretations.
 

Metrofire31

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The above posts display the inherent difficulties in attempting to legislate use of a product after the "horse is out of the barn." The truth is, today's vehicles are filled with technology that necessitates the hands-on use by the driver (or a passenger if there is one). For example, our car has a GPS map that tells you where traffic ahead is moving slow or is stop-and-go. To look at the area ahead requires you to zoom out to see that area ahead. Presumably, this action could be banned under this Act. There are many other similar actions, some as simple as changing the radio station, turning up/down/on the HVAC, turning on the lights,etc. Common sense is needed in using phones but writing it in a law can be tricky so as not to turn us all into potential criminals.
 
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