The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act, which died at the end of the 111th Congress, has been reintroduced in the 112th Congress as HR 81 http://www.thomas.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c112:2:./temp/%7Ec1129bpLP1::. The sponsor is Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18). The new bill -- which was introduced on January 5 -- has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. "We are hopeful that this early start will lead to success in the new Congress," commented ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ.
Rep Jackson Lee first introduced the bill -- HR 2160 http://www.arrl.org/hr2160 -- in the 111th Congress in April 2009 http://www.arrl.org/news/houston-representative-introduces-amateur-radio-bill-in-congress. It gained an additional 41 cosponsors but did not progress out of the committee of jurisdiction. A similar bill introduced in the Senate -- S 1755 http://www.arrl.org/news/senate-introduces-companion-bill-to-hr-2160 -- made it all the way through that body in December 2009, but likewise was not taken up by the House. The objective of the bill -- which is supported by the ARRL -- is for the Secretary of Homeland Security to study the uses and capabilities of Amateur Radio communications in emergencies and disaster relief and to identify and make recommendations regarding impediments to Amateur Radio communications, such as the effects of private land use regulations on residential antenna installations.