The Senate Local Government Committee passed SB 1244 on a 3-0 vote. This bill prohibits a local unit of government from adopting an ordinance that deals with amateur radios (called HAM radios) and prohibits locals from restricting antennas of amateur radios to heights below 90 feet unless they make certain proofs and sets unreasonable standards. The League testified in opposition. They argued that a 90 foot antenna next door can be a safety problem (if it drops), can reduce property values, and could create other problems. This legislation is essentially a carte blanche for anybody who wants to put up such an antenna. Some communities in Michigan have adopted regulations that will restrict antenna height for HAM radio operators. In those communities, the citizens have decided that these antennas will reduce property values, are dangerous or are visual pollution, or have some other reason. Whatever the reason, the citizens should be able to make that decision in their community through their local officials, and the Legislature should not pre-empt that. The Senate committee amended the bill to say that locals have the burden of proof in any lawsuit that arises from a local action.
Nikki Brown is a Legislative Associate for the League handling economic development issues. She can be reached at [email protected] or 517-908-0305.