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Frequently Asked Questions about Bill A. 1565

1. I've heard that a bill was introduced in New York State to allow hams to have up to a 95 ft. tower - is this true? 

A.  Yes, absolutely.  Actually there are two bills. There is an Assembly Bill A.1565 and a Senate Bill S.2893. Currently the Senate version of the bill is in the Local Government Committee while the Assembly bill has been reported out and is now in the Ways and Means Committee.    

2. Who came up with this bill? 

A.  The Hudson Division PRB-1 Task Force did. ARRL Director Frank Fallon, N2FF created this group, and met in person, via e-mail and the ARRL teleconference bridge over the past three years to formulate the wording of the bill and a strategy to get it enacted into law.  Members of the task force are former Vice Director, J.P Kleinhaus, W2XX; NLI Section Manager George Tranos, N2GA; NNJ Section Manager Jeff Friedman, K3JF; former ENY Section Manager Rob Leiden, KR2L.  Also members are State Government Liaisons - Herb Sweet, K2GBH, and Ray Wemple, KA2DVM; plus Assistant Directors Gerry Agliata, W2GLA; Diane Ortiz, K2DO; Dave Kinerson, WB2VXS, and Barbara Sweet, WA2KCL. We have also had assistance from Newington and used other successful state PRB1-1 bills as our models. 

3. Who is sponsoring the bills? 

A. Assemblyman Ronald C. Tocci, (D-85th) of Westchester County sponsors it in the Assembly.  Tocci is Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Military Affairs, which oversees the New York State Emergency Management Office.  He is aware of our fine public service record in the State but he is not an amateur radio operator himself.  In the Senate Dale M. Volker, Vice Chairman of the Majority Conference and a resident of Wyoming County sponsors it.  Volker is an important force in the Senate.  The Senate bill is cosponsored by William J.Larkin, Jr. from New Windsor in Orange County; George D. Maziarz of North Tonawanda and Patricia K. McGee of Olean in Cattaraugus County.  If you live in the districts served by these legislators, please thank them for sponsoring the bills. 

4. How many other states have bills like it? 

A.  Twelve states have such laws, but only three specify heights as ours does. Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Wyoming, and Washington have already passed such laws.

Currently Nevada and Wisconsin are working on PRB-1 type bills while Arkansas and Indiana were unsuccessful this year. See page 16 of the April issue of QST for details. 

5. Why do we need this bill when we have PRB-1? 

A.  Many local towns and villages are not aware of the FCC's PRB-1 published in 1986 or feels they do not need to follow its guidelines.  With a state law it would be very clear to them that they have to conform to the federal provisions and allow us to have effective antennas.  Members of town or village government usually have great difficulty understanding why any structure, and an antenna is a structure to them, should be more than thirty five feet high. They fail to understand that limiting us to thirty-five feet forces us to transmit into telephone lines at the same height.  The bill shows local government that Amateur Radio is important to the State and local community, let's them know our support structures should not be taxed, and informs them we need antennas at a height greater than those permitted for habitable structures.  It is a good educational tool and should help us avoid costly court battles. 

6. I don't have HF privileges and don't need a tower - why should I support this bill? 

A.  Don't be shortsighted here.  Your circumstances, operating interests and license class may change.  While you might now be in an apartment in a city center with no hope of an outside antenna, that may change in the future.  You may at some point decide to upgrade to work HF.  Even at UHF and VHF frequencies, unless you live on the side of big hill, you need an effective antenna high in the air to work stations other than local repeaters.  Have you considered weak signal work?  Height becomes even more important there.  Support of this bill will also help other hams get effective antennas.  It's always nice to help a friend.  The bottom line is that we cannot provide effective emergency communications unless at least some of us have antennas at effective heights. 

7. Where can I see the entire bill and what is it called? 

A. It's here on the site. It is called A. 1565 in the Assembly and S.2893 in the Senate. 

8. What happens to the bill now?  Does it have to be proposed by any other legislator?  When does it get voted on? 

A. The bill have been referred to the Ways and Means Committee in the Assembly and the Local Government Committee in the Senate.  You might also want to send a copy of your letter to Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell Jr. who is Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.  The good news is that we succeeded in getting the bill through these assembly committees last year and should be able to do it again. In the Senate Senator Mary Lou Rath of Genesee County heads the Local Government Committee.  This year in the Senate we have a bill with three sponsors.  It’s a very good sign that four legislators think enough of the bill to support it.  New York legislative sessions typically end each year just before July 4th, so we have only until then to show enough support to bring the bill to a vote in both houses.  Your letters will show that support. 

Unless we can show that there is great support for the Bill – thousands of letters - it may die in committee this year too and have to be reintroduced again next year.  So, you see, your help is VERY important. 

9. I have some questions about the bill, who can I talk to? 

A. You can send an e-mail to or call Frank Fallon, N2FF, Hudson Division Director at 516-746-7652. 

10. What can I do to help? 

A. Write six letters or send QSL cards to the following asking them to support the bills: 

1. Your assemblyman

2. Your senator

3. Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell Jr., Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, LOB 923, Albany, NY 12248

4. Senator Mary Lou Rath, Chairwoman of the Committee on Local Government, 817 LOB, Albany, NY 12247

5. Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, Speaker of the Assembly, LOB 932/CAP 349, Albany,  NY 12248

6. Senator Joseph Bruno, Majority Leader, 909 LOB, Albany, NY 12247 

    Unless thousands of letters or QSL cards are sent we will not be successful. See the sample here on the website. 

    Write your state representative and express your support for this bill explaining why you support it.  The various Assembly members and senators in New York are unlikely to know much about Amateur Radio.  They need to learn two things: how many of us (who vote) there are and what we do for the community.  You can tell them about all the help we hams provided during the ice storms, hurricanes, and floods in past years.  Send a copy of your letter to Farrell, Rath, Silver and Bruno.  And remind others to send in their letters. 

      Get your club to organize a letter writing evening with lap top computers and ink jet printers and put together letters right at the meeting and then have the club mail them.  This way you can be sure that the letters are written. 

11. Where can I find a list of my State representatives?     

A. We have a link here on the site, which should enable you to find that information.  Your local telephone directory will also have Assembly Members and Senators listed in the blue pages under State Offices. 

If you do not know the names of your legislators you can also call your local Board of Elections for this information. 

12. I live in New Jersey.  How come we are not trying to get a bill there? 

A.  We do plan to start in 2002 in New Jersey provided we can enlist enough qualified volunteers for the effort.  We have not yet identified enough volunteers who have the skill sets that can help our effort.  In addition the current SM in NNJ has asked that we not start our effort while he is still working on a New Jersey license plate bill.  He feels it would be just too difficult to push two bills at the same time.  A tower bill is also going to be more difficult in New Jersey because the capital area is not in the Hudson Division and there is reportedly more organized opposition to towers than in New York State.  New York has a governor who is a former ham radio operator and is favorable to our effort.  That’s not the case in New Jersey.  We have no idea where the acting governor in New Jersey stands on the issue of amateur radio towers. If you are interested in being one of the NJ volunteers please contact N2FF.




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This site designed and maintained by J.P. Kleinhaus, W2XX - last updated 5/21/2001