Alert - ARRL Update on Hands-Free MA Legislation, November 19, 2019

TC McQuade

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I posted this in the off topic hands free thread but I wanted the HAM operators to not miss this

It appears that the current version of this bill would make operation of HAM radios illegal in MASS while driving.

ARRL Update on Hands-Free MA Legislation, November 19, 2019

“Eastern Massachusetts ARRL State Government Liaison, Hank W4RIG, is working the issue [of hands-free legislation]. Hank is also President of the Cape Anne Amateur Radio Association (CAARA) in Gloucester.

“Since the hands-free bills were first filed, Hank has been closely coordinating with Senator Bruce Tarr, who is the Massachusetts Senate Minority Leader and a radio amateur. Previously the Senator’s office reported to Hank that Amateur Radio operation would not be impacted by earlier versions of the bill. I believe this was based on the Massachusetts General Laws which apply to all bills. The General Laws state that a ‘mobile telephone’ shall not include amateur radios.

“With the hands-free bill finally clearing committee on the weekend and ready for a vote, I asked Hank to contact the Senators office once again to confirm amateur radio operations were not affected. We are awaiting that confirmation. If Hank can get the confirmation or further clarification, I will post the information on Eastern Massachusetts ARRL – a field organization of the National Association for Amateur Radio™ .”


Previously the hands free bill included language exempting radio operators that held a federal license (Ham) but that had been removed on 11/16/19
 

TC McQuade

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IMPACT ON AMATEUR RADIO FROM DISTRACTED DRIVING BILL


After discussing these concerns, Ray and Tom were asked to convey the following guidance to our members in both Eastern and Western Massachusetts sections. This guidance is intended to assure everyone that the new law “permits use of a “federally licensed 2–way radio” provided that “1 hand remains on the steering wheel at all times.”.

Received this opinion in writing which states “that a person may operate a motor vehicle while using a federally licensed 2–way radio or mobile telephone, except as provided in sections 8M, 12A and 13B, as long as 1 hand remains on the steering wheel at all times”.

This statement above appears in the first sentence of Section 13, of the Massachusetts General Laws as referenced in the final bill.



 
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