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                                                       Calendar No. 224

111th Congress                                                   Report
  1st Session                  SENATE                           111-105                                                    

======================================================================

     AMATEUR RADIO EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS ENHANCEMENT ACT OF 2009 

                                _______
                                

               December 10, 2009.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Lieberman, from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
                    Affairs, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1755]

    The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to which was referred the bill (S. 1755) to direct the 
Department of Homeland Security to undertake a study on 
emergency communications, having considered the same, reports 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that the 
bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background and Need for the Legislation..........................1
III. Legislative History..............................................2
 IV. Section-by-Section Analysis......................................2
  V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................3
 VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................3

                         I. PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    S. 1755 seeks to determine how to harness the ability of 
the hundreds of thousands of American amateur radio operators 
who comprise the Amateur Radio Service to offer organized and 
orderly help to the government in times of emergency. It does 
so by directing the Secretary of Homeland Security to study, 
write a report on, and make recommendations with respect to the 
uses and capabilities of the Amateur Radio Service.

              II. BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR THE LEGISLATION

    Nearly 700,000 U.S. residents have licenses to operate 
amateur radios. Anyone seeking to use amateur radios in the 
United States must receive a license to do so from the Federal 
Communications Commission; licensees thereby become part of the 
Amateur Radio Service. These operators play a vital role in 
communications during natural disasters and other emergencies 
when traditional phone lines may not function and cell phone 
services and other devices become overwhelmed. Volunteer radio 
operators provided these services during hurricanes Katrina, 
Rita, Hugo, and Andrew, during the relief effort at the World 
Trade Center and the Pentagon following the 2001 terrorist 
attacks, and during the Oklahoma City bombing in April 1995. 
These services provided invaluable assistance on these and 
other occasions. The study commissioned by this bill will serve 
to further examine the utility of strengthening and expanding 
the capabilities of these operators for future emergencies.

                        III. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    On October 6, 2009, Senators Joseph Lieberman and Susan 
Collins introduced S. 1755, which was referred to the Committee 
on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The Committee 
favorably reported the bill by a voice vote on November 4, 
2009. Members present for the vote on the bill were Senators 
Lieberman, Levin, Akaka, Carper, Pryor, Landrieu, Burris, 
Collins, and Bennett.

                    IV. SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 designates the name of the act as the ``Amateur 
Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act of 2009.''

Section 2. Findings

    Section 2 states Congress' findings regarding the value of 
services provided by amateur radio service operators.

Section 3. Study of enhanced uses of amateur radio in emergency and 
        disaster relief communication and for relief of restrictions

    Subsection (a) requires the Secretary of Homeland Security 
to undertake a study examining the uses and capabilities of 
Amateur Radio Service communications in emergencies and 
disaster relief and submit a report to Congress on the findings 
of the study within 180 days of enactment of this act.
    Subsection (b) provides that the study shall include a 
review of the extent to which amateur radio emergency 
communications can support homeland security missions relating 
to disasters, severe weather, and other threats to lives and 
property in the United States. The report must also provide 
recommendations for enhancements in the voluntary deployment of 
amateur radio licensees in relief efforts and improved 
integration of amateur radio operators in planning and 
furtherance of homeland security initiatives. The 
recommendations should also identify impediments to Amateur 
Radio Service communications and make recommendations regarding 
such impediments for consideration by other Federal 
departments, agencies, and Congress.
    Subsection (c) requires the Secretary to utilize the 
expertise of stakeholder entities and organizations for the 
purposes of conducting this study.

                   V. EVALUATION OF REGULATORY IMPACT

    Pursuant to the requirements of paragraph 11(b) of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee has 
considered the regulatory impact of this bill. The 
Congressional Budget Office states that the bill contains no 
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would not effect state, local, 
and tribal governments. The enactment of this legislation will 
not have significant regulatory impact.

             VI. CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

                                                  November 6, 2009.
Hon. Joseph I. Lieberman,
Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. 
        Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1755, the Amateur 
Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act of 2009.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Daniel 
Hoople.
            Sincerely,
                                      Douglas W. Elmendorf,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

S. 1755--Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act of 2009

    CBO estimates that implementing S. 1755 would have no 
significant cost over the next five years. Enacting this 
legislation would not affect direct spending or revenues.
    S. 1755 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The bill would direct the Department of Homeland Security 
to conduct a study on the uses and capabilities of the Amateur 
Radio Service during and after a disaster or emergency. The 
study would be completed within 180 days of enactment of this 
legislation. Based on the costs of similar studies, CBO 
estimates that implementing S. 1755 would cost less than 
$500,000, subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
    The Amateur Radio Service is a voluntary organization made 
up of qualified people with a nonmonetary interest in radio. 
Amateur radio operators are licensed by the Federal 
Communications Commission based on skill and knowledge. 
Licensed operators may use a number of small, shared frequency 
bands to communicate through voice, teleprinting, telegraphy, 
facsimile, and television. During emergencies, amateur radio 
operators provide alerts and other communications in place of 
and in tandem with federal, state, and local government 
agencies and private relief organizations, such as the American 
Red Cross.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Daniel Hoople. 
This estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.