Ten years of work within the ARRL Michigan Section have culminated in an Amateur Radio antenna bill that mirrors the “reasonable accommodation” provisions of the PRB-1 federal pre-emption policy. Michigan Gov Rick Snyder signed the measure, Senate Bill 0493, into law on January 15, creating Public Act 556. Senator Rick Jones sponsored the bill. ARRL Michigan Section Manager Larry Camp, WB8R, said Michigan is the 31st state to have a PRB-1 bill on its books.
“The current PRB-1 Team has been working for 3 years to get this accomplished,” he said. “Our bill endured four votes on its way to becoming law — Senate and House committees and the Senate and House floors. Each vote was unanimous.”
The most pertinent language in the new Michigan law, which comes directly from §97.15 of the FCC Amateur Service rules, states:
An Amateur Radio Service station antenna structure may be erected at heights and dimensions sufficient to accommodate Amateur Radio Service communications. Regulation of an Amateur Radio Service station antenna structure by a local unit of government must not preclude Amateur Radio Service communications. Rather, it must reasonably accommodate those communications and must constitute the minimum practicable regulation to accomplish the local unit of government’s legitimate purpose.
The new law also provides for an advisory committee that may be established jointly by the Michigan Section and other state organizations, such as the Michigan Municipal League and the Michigan Township Association. Camp said the advisory board could become involved at the request of the amateur, the community, zoning board, or representative associations as required. “The purpose of having the Michigan Section and the ARRL named specifically,” Camp said, “is to ensure that the technical information that the advisory committee receives is accurate and pertinent to the questions at hand.”
“The Michigan Section of the ARRL will be available to provide information and training as an ongoing educational effort for communities and their representative organizations,” Camp added.
Camp said the PRB-1 Team believes the advisory committee will be an important tool in situations when community officials know little or nothing about Amateur Radio. “We will be able to provide accurate information and support from the ARRL, as required,” he said. “This committee will help explain the reasons why radio amateurs need to have antennas in the air in order to communicate in an emergency.”
The new law also echoes federal requirements that owners of certain Amateur Radio antenna structures extending more than 200 feet above ground level at the site or that are located near or at an airport must notify the Federal Aviation Administration and register with the FCC.
In addition to Camp and ARRL Great Lakes Director Dale Williams, WA8EFK — who served as an advisor — Michigan PRB-1 Team members included State Government Liaison Ed Hude, WA8QJE; Local Government Liaisons Butch Hedges, KD8NKJ, and Hal Thomas, N8HAL; Webmaster Jay Nugent, WB8TKL; Legal Advisor Raoul Revord, W8RDR, and Public Information Officer Pat Mullet, KC8RTW.