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Minutes for SB144 - Committee on Transportation

Short Title

Prohibiting the use of a wireless communication device in a school zone or a road construction zone.

Minutes Content for Thu, Mar 16, 2017

Staff explained the bill and answered questions.  Staff discussed a proposed balloon amendment to this bill that would exclude ham operators.

Chairman Proehl drew the Committee's attention to written testimony submitted in support of SB144 by Senator Vicki Schmidt (Attachment 4) and Ed Klumpp, representing KS Ass'n. of Chiefs of police, KS Sheriffs Ass'n. and KS Peace Officers Ass'n. (Attachment 5)

There were no other proponents or neutrals so the Chairman opened to the opponents of SB144.

The first opponent was Bob Eckhardt. (Attachment 6) He pointed out that the Federal Communication Commission license millions of two-way wireless communication devices, including amateur radios, specifically for use as mobile devices.  He said if these devices were dangerous to use from a moving vehicle, the FCC would not permit mobile operation.

The next opponent was Dr. John Fasbinder. (Attachment 7) Dr. Fasbinder said if licensed amateur radio operators are prohibited from communications it could have an adverse impact on the public.  He said this group of dedicated individuals provide a valued public service.

Brian Short was the next to speak as an opponent. (Attachment 8) He provided a power-point presentation.

Barbara Schlueter said she wanted to use her ham radio skills to help her community so she joined the Butler County Community Emergency Response Team and was trained in basic disaster response skills such as light search and rescue, disaster medical operations and organization and traffic control and other types of support functions. (Attachment 9)

Tim Carty said since becoming a licensed ham radio operator he has worked with multiple city, county, state and national agencies on emergency preparedness.  He said to be a licensed ham radio operator they are required to take tests to prove their knowledge, understanding and safeness of operating a ham radio. (Attachment 10)

Herb Fiddick was the next opponent to speak. (Attachment 11) He said in Johnson County approximately 75 amateur radio operators volunteer their time, equipment and skills as weather spotters under the direction of the County Emergency Management Division and these members are required to have a permanently installed mobile radio and antenna in their vehicle to ensure effective communications.

The last opponent to speak was Dr. Thomas Wheeler. (Attachment 12) Dr. Wheeler said amateur radio operators need to be exempted from this law because they are generally highly trained and operate within a service requiring an FCC license examination.  He said because of their training and experience the amateur radio operators are well prepared in situational awareness and safety providing for safe operation of radio equipment in a mobile environment.

Written testimony in opposition to SB144 was provided by:

Rich Payne, Overland Park, KS (Attachment 13)

Anthony Hawk, Olathe, KS (Attachment 14)

Debbie Liddel, Lawrence, KS (Attachment 15)

Bruce Liddel, Lawrence, KS (Attachment 16)

There were no other opponents so after all questions were answered the Chairman closed the hearing on SB144.

Chairman Proehl announced that the next meeting will be on March 21st and the Committee would do Final Action on the remaining bills.

There being no further business before the Committee the meeting was adjourned.