FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly today cited mixed results in an update today on his efforts to get states to stop diverting 911 fees for other purposes or to report to the FCC whether they do so or not.
“Of the five self-reported diverting states and seven states and territories that did not respond to the Commission’s inquiry (for a total of 12), two states (Illinois and Oklahoma) and one territory (Northern Mariana Islands) remedied filing errors to clarify that they are not diverters; one state (West Virginia) and one territory (Puerto Rico) are in the process of ending diversion within their borders; and one state (New Mexico) has ended its diversionary practices going forward,” Mr. O’Rielly said. “This leaves five states and one territory (New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, Missouri, Montana, and Guam) that have not yet either provided the Commission with their 2016 state data or ended their explicit and despicable practice of stealing 9-1-1 fees for their own discretionary spending.”
He noted the introduction last summer of the 9-1-1 Fee Integrity Act (HR 6424), which is designed to prevent states from diverting 911 fees for other purposes (TR Daily, July 19).
“This is an important step. Once the Commission provides a clear definition of diversion, and states may no longer thwart consumer expectations by passing laws permitting such diversion, diversionary practices should decline,” the Commissioner said. “But a more comprehensive bill may be needed to deal with recalcitrant states committed to diversion.”- Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org