A number of measures were passed by state legislatures in 2016 to support and improve the operations of public emergency communication services for today's digital mobile society.
At least 10 states—Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Virginia—passed legislation related to Next Generation 911 (NG911), allowing users to send text, video and picture messages in addition to making phone calls to 911. Some of the bills define NG911, while others, such as the bill in Connecticut, require the implementation of NG911.
According to the 2016 National 911 Progress Report, 12 states are completely covered by a fully operational NG911 system. 911.gov also provides a new NG911 Playbook to help states interconnect their NG911 networks. The playbook chronicles Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota as they developed interconnected NG911 networks in their states.
Oklahoma and Tennessee both enacted legislation requiring multiple-line telephone systems to allow a user to directly dial 911 without having to dial any other number first. These bills are known as Kari’s law, named for a woman who was killed in a motel room. Her young daughter attempted to dial 911 but the call did not go through because she did not dial ‘9’ for an outbound line. Michigan extended the deadline for installing the required equipment to implement the state’s requirement.
Continuing a recent trend, a handful of states enacted legislation addressing immunity for individuals who report drug and alcohol overdoses. Colorado, Michigan and Ohio are among the states that enacted legislation in this area.
2016 Key Enacted 911 Legislation
The legislation listed below includes key 2016 enactments, excluding appropriations. See NCSL's 911 Legislation Database for a more complete list of 2016 introduced and enacted 911 legislation.
SB 45 – Continues the Statewide 911 Board until October 2020.
AB 1564 – Allows 911 calls from cell phones to be routed to PSAPs other than the highway patrol if the call originates somewhere other than a freeway, the alternate routing is economically and technologically feasible and the routing will benefit public safety. Requires the Public Safety Communications Division to work with the highway patrol to determine the most efficient routing for calls. Requires that 911 be the primary access number for emergency services reached by cell phone. Prohibits cell phone providers from charging for 911 calls.
AB 1769 – In California, it is a crime to use a telephone to call 911 with the intent to annoy or harass another person. This bill expands that to include using any electronic communication device to communicate with 911, in addition to telephones.
SB 183 – Creates the Legislative Interim Committee on 911 Oversight, Outage Reporting, and Reliability. Specifies membership of the committee. Requires the committee study whether current funding sources and amounts of funding are sufficient for existing 911 services and the transition to NG911, in addition to studying oversight, outage reporting and reliability. Requires a report by Jan. 31, 2017.
HB 1390 – Specifies that immunity provided when suffering from or reporting an emergency drug or alcohol overdose includes both arrest and prosecution. Specifies that immunity also applies to underage individuals reporting alcohol or marijuana overdoses and extends immunity from arrest and prosecution to the underage person requiring medical assistance.
HB 5407 – Changes the name of the Office of State-Wide Emergency Telecommunications to the Division of State-Wide Emergency Telecommunications. Requires the division implement NG911. Defines NG911 and requires telephone companies provide specified information regarding 911 calls to the division, including identification of the number calling 911 and the location of the call.
SB 235 – Eliminates a requirement that the state pay wireless cost recovery related to 911 to wireless providers.
SB 1212 – Creates the State Public Safety Communications Commission. Specifies the responsibilities and membership of the Commission. Defines “interoperable public safety communications and data systems,” “interoperability,” “NG911” and other terms. Permits the use of emergency communications fees to pay for NG911 systems. Incorporates NG911 in existing statutes.
SB 3096 – Requires the development of comprehensive guidelines, rules and minimum standards for training for PSAP Telecommunicators for handling sexual assault or sexual abuse calls. Requires newly hired and existing telecommunicators to complete the training.
SB 213 – Eliminates certain payments required from communications service providers to the 911 board. Specifies that the enhanced prepaid wireless charge does not have to be paid if the eligible telecommunications carrier is required to pay the monthly statewide 911 fee for the same transaction.
HF 2439 – Specifies the allocation of $1,000 for each public safety answering point (PSAP) that has submitted a written request. Increases from 46 to 60 percent the amount of additional allocations based on collected surcharges. Requires communications providers be reimbursed for the integration of NG911. Permits the creation of a reserve account of up to 12.5 percent of collected surcharges. Prioritizes grants for PSAPs that agree to consolidate in the distribution of remaining funds. Third in the priority order for distribution is money for costs at PSAPs related to NG911. Requires the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management conduct a study to determine how PSAPs can be consolidated to achieve operational cost efficiencies and submit a report containing the results of the study to the General Assembly no later than Jan. 15, 2017.
HB 585 – Changes and adds to the definitions for 911 emergency service. Defines Next Generation 911 and other terms. Specifies how 911 fees can be allocated and utilized, including hiring personnel, employee and facility costs, etc. Modifies membership of the 911 Services Board. Requires the board develop and implement standards for new technology, including NG911. Specifies how funds collected from fees can be disbursed. Creates new provisions regarding lifeline providers.
HB 678 – Allows the assessment of a surcharge fee on prepaid 911 services and products. Modifies definitions. Increases the amount of the prepaid 911 charge from two to four percent. Specifies how fees are to be deducted and retained by sellers. Specifies that all revenue from 911 surcharge fees can only be used for providing 911 services. Requires that 911 districts provide an annual report to certain legislative committees regarding statewide 911 activities, including 911 fees and revenues received, all 911 expenditures, all projects included in the development of NG911 and any opportunities for collaboration in NG911 development.
HB 805 – Explains the FCC’s plan for NG911 and the capabilities of the technology. Requires technological enhancement at PSAPs in order to implement NG911 when funding is available. Increases allowable service charge from $0.85 to $1.25. Removes law that provided a service charge exemption for tax exempt individuals or entities. Removes provisions specifying how districts were allowed to use proceeds from service charges. Establishes a new requirement that revenues from 911 surcharge fees be used only for providing 911 services.
SB 444 – Establishes critical incident stress management services for emergency service providers, including dispatchers. Prohibits disclosure of confidential communications except in certain instances.
SB 878 – Extends the deadline for multiline telephone systems to meet certain equipment installation requirements.
HB 5442 – Establishes the public threat alert system act. Makes it a felony to intentionally and knowingly make a false report of a public threat. Permits the court to require the person that made a false report to pay for the cost of responding to the false report.
HB 5649 /5650 - Expands overdose immunity provisions to apply to people of any age, rather than only those under 21 and to possession or use of any controlled substance, not just prescription drugs.
HB 491 – Extends the date of repeal on the minimum standards for emergency telecommunicators and on the funding for the training of such telecommunicators.
LB 938 – Adopts the 911 Service System Act to establish the Public Service Commission as the statewide authority to plan, implement, coordinate, maintain, and provide funding assistance for a 911 service system consistent and compatible with national public safety standards advanced by recognized standards and development organizations. Defines a number of relevant terms, including NG911. Specifies duties of the Public Service Commission. Requires the appointment of a state 911 director. Creates the 911 Service System Fund.
HB 1553 – Transfers the Statewide Telecommunications Accounting Unit from the Department of Safety to the Department of Information Technology.
HB 110 – Enacts a 911 Good Samaritan law. Requires that PSAP personnel that are classified as emergency service telecommunicators receive training in informing individuals who call about an apparent drug overdose about the immunity from prosecution for a minor drug possession offense created in this legislation.
HB 277 – Authorizes a county, township, or municipal corporation to impose a 911 system property tax levy in only the portion of the subdivision that would be served by the 911 system.
SB 1221 – Requires multiline telephone systems to allow for direct dialing to 911. Requires notification to a central location when a person within the facility dials 911.
HB 3126 – Creates the State 9-1-1 Management Authority Act and the State 911 Management Authority. Defines relevant terms, including NG911. Requires the 911 Management Authority develop a plan to deploy NG911 services statewide, in addition to other powers and duties. Raises to $0.75 the fee for certain devices, services and transactions. Specifies how fees are to be collected and distributed.
HB 4097 – Permits the Office of Emergency Management to enter into agreement with Confederated Tribes of Warming Springs Reservation for the purpose of forming an entity to participate in the emergency communications system.
HB 1310 – Prohibits release of 911 caller information.
HB 7748 – Requires the E-911 Uniform Emergency Telephone System Division to update the system for implementation of NG911. Requires a report on implementation to the legislature by March 30, 2017.
SB 2051 – Allows the collection of a 911 surcharge from a consumer upon the retail sale of communications services or prepaid communications services. Requires collection of the surcharge at the point of sale and requires the revenue to be remitted to the Department of Revenue. Prohibits any additional surcharges.
SB 2137 – Requires multiline telephone systems to allow for direct dialing to 911. Requires notification to a central location when a person within the facility dials 911.
HB 380 – Modifies membership of the Utah Communications Authority Board. Requires that creation of a multi-year strategic plan. Requires the plan include recommendations about whether the state’s 911 system would benefit from consolidation of PSAPs. Modifies membership of the 911 Advisory Committee. Specifies duties of the committee.
HB 130 – Creates a group to make recommendations regarding the state’s 911 system. Requires a report to the legislature by January 15, 2017. Requires the Department of Public Safety to continue to provide 911 call-taking services.
HB 756 – Renames the E-911 Services Board as the 9-1-1 Services Board. Requires the board to support and assist PSAPs in the provision of 911 operations and services. Requires the board plan, promote, and assist in the statewide development, deployment, and maintenance of an emergency services IP network. Defines NG911. Requires the board develop standards for emergency services, including NG911, to promote interoperability with other states.