Legislation (HR 6424) introduced today is designed to prevent states from diverting 911 fees for other purposes. Rep. Chris Collins (R., NY) was joined by Reps. Anna G. Eshoo (D., Calif.) and Leonard Lance (R., N.J.) in introducing the 9-1-1 Fee Integrity Act.
The bill would direct “the FCC, in consultation with public safety organizations, and state, local and tribal governments, to determine the appropriate use of funds collected from consumers. Currently, states are able to set their own definition of what is a covered cost for 9-1-1 fees, which has allowed them to divert fees,” a news release noted. The FCC would have to adopt rules within 180 days.
“It is completely unacceptable that we have seen states diverting fees meant to make important and necessary improvements to emergency response systems,” said Rep. Collins. “Diverting these important fees puts lives in danger, especially in rural areas. I thank Congresswoman Eshoo and Congressman Lance for their support of this legislation and their commitment to making sure all communities across the nation can achieve the highest level of safety.”
“Our 9-1-1 call centers are the first point of contact for Americans in emergency situations, but many of these call centers rely on technology that’s been in place since the time of the first 9-1-1 call 50 years ago,” said Rep. Eshoo. “9-1-1 fees collected by states should only be used to upgrade our 9-1-1 infrastructure, not diverted to the general coffers of state governments.”
“My constituents need to know that in an emergency the 9-1-1 call is going to go through,” said Rep. Lance. “Lawmakers in Trenton raided the fund set aside to improve the 9-1-1 system and left the account penniless – leaving public safety threatened and taxpayers on the hook. Members of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee are seeking to end this practice. The 911 Fee Integrity Act will empower the Federal Communications Commission to crack down on state governments that divert these funds and shortchange much needed upgrades to bring the critical 9-1-1 system into the 21st Century. And instead of further taxing New Jerseyans, Trenton should first stop diverting the existing fees from their intended use.”- Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org