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Concerns and Lessons Being LearnedUpdated 8 July 17 - 0730 PDT
8 July Legislative Update
This week we received confirmation that we (BARA/California Amateur Radio Operators) are registered in opposition to AB-1222 in its present form. This is supposed to give us recognition and a brief time to address the CA Senta Transportation and Housing Committee at their meeting July 11, 1:30 PM.
Given the significant list of those in support vs our lone opposition, this is a pretty daunting moment for two-way and amateur radio. Norm and I knew we could face this dilemma, and our last words before his untimely passing were to "stay the course." There is no question but to stand up to the effort I started, honor Norm's efforts and those of everyone else who have supported us.
At the very least we got some traction/progress in mildly improving CVC 23123.5 into AB-1222. It's been our belief all along that in such a simple, obvious matter, it *could* be better - this is California - it's what we've been told and that's what we expect - yes?
Addressing this all along, and especially now is a monumental challenge of patience and doing the right thing. I am very pleased and proud and appreciative for all of the support and assistance!
This is NOT a specific call to action, but if your local Senator is a member of the Senate Transportation committee, it wouldn't hurt to give their office a call and share some support for us and this process.
If you want to "be there" with us on Tuesday, these links may take you to live and archived video:
In closing today, I ask you reserve a moment of silence for our dear friend Norm Lucas, WB6RVR (sk). This effort I dedicate to Norm and his years of leadership and friendship as we served the NARCC Board together, and now this. Thank you Norm and everyone!
29 May Legislative Update
May 29, 2017: Last week, 2PM, 24 May, I had a brief meeting with and delivered the following documents to State Senator Jim Beall's staff. The intent to establish a clear working position from the foundation of a couple of Federal grant programs and their provisions - leveraging equipment and service types already defined in law. Hopefully the result is that we are 'registered' as "in opposition pending amendment" to clarify what is being regulated (and not-stated) what is not being regulated.
Clearly there are Federal programs with specific limitations on what is allowed as an exemption/exception. By default and legal definition (US Code) no "private mobile service" (which includes CB, commercial, public safety and amateur radio) is "regulated against" in the context of distracted driving.
The goal is to get the "commercial mobile service" and devices (interconnected/cell) specifically referenced in the law(s) as intended. THIS IS SIGNIFICANT for any/all States dealing with this issue.
By being 'registered' in opposition this is at least one way to be heard. The other is to ensure MORE PEOPLE are so-registered and refer to the documents linked below. This opposition MUST be made known to the Senate Transportation Committee and your local Senate representative. ACT NOW!!!!
* * * Call-to-Action - Advocacy and Support * * *
Sadly AB1222 has moved out of the Assembly and is going to the SENATE Transportation committee soon. We need for the SENATE to defer AB1222 back to the Assembly Transportation committee for proper revision!
AGAIN it is imperative we take immediate deliberate steps to be heard by all of our representatives!
A more formal version of the copy-and-paste text below has been e-mailed to the entire Senate.
Your part is to register opposition with your Senator as soon as possible = NOW!
If this bill passes the Senate Transportation, it will go to the Senate for vote and likely be the 'new' law.
It is again and always time to act!
Share this with your ham clubs, repeater groups, ARRL, SAR, Red Cross, CA-related Facebook and Yahoo groups, etc.
Below are the two steps everyone needs to take NOW to be heard - Call and Register opposition:
1 - Find and Call Your Representative
Use this "Find Your Rep" link:Find Your Rep!
Select your SENATOR to go to their web page. From there:
On 26 September 2016 the State of California under Assembly Bill 1785 approved a new level of hands-free driving law, effective 1 January 2017.
From that time on various law enforcement entities issued their interpretations into what we'll call "enforcement memos", that varied by jurisdiction and seemed to contradict the cell-phone-only intent of the law. This was deemed inconsistent and unsustainable - different application of a law at the discretion of local agencies - NOT a good thing.
On 2 February 2017 I initiated a CHANGE.ORG petition calling for 'correction' of the ambiguities.
In the weeks following the initiative received a lot of 'feedback' and gained the direct assistance of Norm WB6RVR, Glen K6KJQ, recently Mike WA6ILQ and pursued law enforcement, legal and ARRL contributions to the concern.
We have had direct and indirect contact with the law's author, Assemblymember Bill Quirk, his Chief of Staff, their law enforcement advisor from the California Police Chiefs Association and others.
Assemblymember Quirk and staff are emphatic that this was only to apply to cellphones, and is to have submitted an article to the Legislative journal stating such.
CHP has issued an "enforcement memo" stating that CVC 23123.5 does NOT apply to radio use. That may work for CHP but uncertain agencies will get or heed said memo.
Unknown if it would ever be possible to get the "top cop"/Attorney General to clarify the law for the courts.
We have considered aspects of "legal findings" as to whether or not something that does not have ANY legal case or precedent can be prohibited. 'Average' people have been operating mobile radios in various services legally, and without known issue for over 70 years, vs. the past 10 years or so of known risks of cellphone use, texting, etc.
We have also learned of other states with similar issues, specific exemptions and significantly the NTSB and NHTSA initiatives and grant money offerings to decrease distracted driving.
We have learned of many state and Federal laws that in some cases REQUIRE two-way radio as a matter of safety compliance, that State laws may conflict with.
We have experienced little interest then total lack of communications or support from ham radio's ARRL - and sadly now know why they could and would not 'engage' - and sadly for us and them it was their own approach and the reception they got that seems to have scared them off. Most in the ARRL that will say anything admit we've got 'more' on this than they. Kind of sad their legislative liasons missed out.
"Ham radio" is NOT any more or less entitled or 'special' than any other radio service - government or private.
"Regulating technology" is not an obvious or easy task, given consumer concerns, behaviors, types of technology use and interactions, etc. They are not all the same and trying to distinguish them for the public, lawmakers, etc. is a challenge not to be under-estimated. One must be aware of the audience and address them appropriately.
What follows are links and documents pertinent to our requests, suggestions, 'education', and proposals to keep such laws reasonable and prudent, not just for Amateur Radio but all of the many legitimate, non-risk recreational, occupational, public service, and public safety services employed throughout the United States.
The "take away" for any and all is to BE VIGILANT in watching for ANY and ALL laws that might have or eventually have unintended consequences where not needed.
We believe, through reasonable, rational, respectful consideration and dialog, we have been and will continue to be successful through the course of this effort.
Hands-Free Information Links
Current Initiative - Outreach to Local CA Assembly and Senate Members - Comments and Proposed Edits to AB1222 - 29 APR 2017
California CVC 23123.5 - 1 Jan 2017
California AB1222 - Draft of Amended Language - 17 Feb 2017
California AB1222 - Analysis - 21 Apr 2017
Comments and Proposed Edits to AB1222 - 23 Apr 2017
Our Response to Staff Questions About Radio Training
CHP Enforcement Memo = "does not pertain to radios"
NIH / Assoc. for Advancement of Automotive Medicine Paper
NTSB Site re: Distracted Driving
NHTSA Site re: Distracted Driving
NHTSA Grant Money Chart
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute
State by State
We welcome additions and updates to this list to help everyone get and stay informed. It is up to the citizens, taxpayers, voters in each city, county and state to get informed and track legislation as it it matters - IT DOES!!
Legislative "Trigger Words" and Ambiguities
Voters should be on the lookout for these words/phrases, context, nuances, that leave laws subject to broad and mis-interpretation, unintended consequences, and more complicated legal issues than necessary.
Vague, non-specific definitions of equipment, devices, actions, etc. are ripe for over- and under-interpretation, implementation and complex legal/court cases.
Technology *is* hard for some. It didn't just appear 'yesterday', and just because a person, legislator, staff, governor, lawyer or judge is not intimately familiar is NO excuse to allow a lot of well-intention words make it to law and affect lives, good or bad.
In reality 'electronic', 'wireless', 'radio' covers thousands of items, INCLUDING those that may be used or recommended as the solution for the issue being addressed - for example, Bluetooth headsets.
In many cases 'handheld' may be secured and become mounted, affixed, attached, in such as way as to not be operated while in-hand.
Avoid Legal and Other Contradictions
Beware other laws that could be applied to radio operation:
We all need to be aware of who else is saying what on-behalf of or in conflict with initiatives and agendas surrounding issues of importance. The ARRL, several Federal agencies, several advocacy groups, etc. have significant stake in many aspects of what we do in technology and life. Be aware!
Served Agencies, NGOs, etc.
No specific content yet for this section. We want to start listing the signficant served agencies, attornies general, Federal judges, case law example/precedent, and NGOs who have specifically come out in FAVOR and NOT in FAVOR of maintaining the legality of two-way radio use while operating a motor vehicle.
This will not be a list of "xyz in our county uses us for..." - it must be a list of known entities that have or will issue and testify with supportive statements of justification and critical need - be it life-threatening conditions or not.
Favorable / Advocates
Fence Sitters / Ambiguous
Links to Electronics Training Resources
Amateur Radio Elmers on Facebook
The NO1PC Blog
Bio / CV
No1PC Home Page
© 2017 de Jim Aspinwall, No1PC
Rights of referenced and linked material up to their respective authors/publishers/owners.