2019 Key Enacted 911 Legislation

2/4/2020

911 on cell phone.

The legislation listed below includes key 2019 enactments related to the 911 system such as administration, fees and funding, privacy and confidentiality, and E911 and NG911. It does not include appropriations or laws regarding certain issues specific to 911 telecommunicators such as occupational classifications, retirement and health. See NCSL's 911 Bill Tracking Database for a more complete list of 2019 introduced and enacted 911 legislation.

Introduction

Nineteen states enacted 28 bills in 2019 to support and improve the operation of public emergency communications services. New laws mainly concern 911 funding and Next Generation 911 (NG911), including text-to-911 services. 

A significant trend in state legislation this year dealt with modifying funding models for 911 services and increasing 911 fees and surcharges. Seven states—Arkansas, California, Kansas, Maryland, New York, Oregon and Utah—imposed new fees or increased 911 service charges for telecommunications services subscribers or consumers that make prepaid purchases. Some of these states also modified certain aspects of their 911 funding structure. 

Lack of funding is among the main reasons many states and localities have not fully implemented NG911. NG911 is an internet protocol (IP)-based system that allows users to send digital information such as photos, text messages or videos to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP). In case of call overload or problems with PSAP operation, NG911 also enables calls to be rerouted among PSAPs. As of 2017, 35 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S Virgin Islands had at least one locality which had implemented or was in the process of implementing NG911. According to the 2019 National 911 Progress Report, 31 states have adopted a Statewide NG 911 Strategic Plan. The National 911 Program launched this year a new NG911 Self-Assessment Tool designed to help 911 agencies evaluate their current level of NG911 readiness and clarify the next steps toward implementation. The online tool was developed by the SAFECOM/NCSWIC 911 Working Group and adapted from the original NG911 Readiness Scorecard, created by the FCC’s Task Force for Optimal PSAP Architecture.

In 2019 there were more enactments addressing NG911 than in previous years. At least seven states—Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and South Carolina—passed NG911-related legislation. Bills in three of these states require text-to-911 services to be developed and implemented in all of the state’s localities by a certain date: in North Carolina by July 1, 2020, in California by Jan. 1, 2021, and in Florida by Jan. 1, 2022.

At least two states—Alabama and Connecticut—required emergency communications bodies to study issue areas and recommend necessary statutory changes to ensure the effectiveness of 911 services. Michigan created new requirements for a multi-line telephone system (MLTS), including ensuring that 911 calls are effectively routed to a PSAP and that the location information of each communication device is identified and transmitted to emergency responders, so they know the actual location of the emergency. 

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U.S. States with Key 911 Enactments in 2019

The legislation listed here includes key 911 enactments made in 2019, excluding appropriations and laws regarding certain issues specific to 911 telecommunicators such as occupational classifications, retirement, and health. See NCSL's 911 Legislation Database for a more complete list of introduced and enacted 911 legislation from 2019.

DC PR MP GU AS VI AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY

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Alabama

AL flagSB 138 -- Authorizes the 911 Board to deploy and administer a statewide voice and data system that uses emerging communication technologies to deliver 911 and emergency information to the districts. Charges the 911 Board with developing and publishing a 911 Annual Report. The report shall, among others, recommend any statutory changes necessary to ensure efficient and effective delivery of 911 services in Alabama.

Arkansas

AR flagHB 1564 -- Provides for the transition to new 911 systems (Next Generation 911 and ESINet). Provides funding for the necessary upgrades and maintenance. Provides for the increase of the three existing public safety charges from $0.65 to $1.30. Provides for safety charge of 10% for prepaid wireless service consumers. Replaces the Arkansas Emergency Telephone Services Board with the Arkansas 911 Board. Requires that at least 60% of telecommunicators working in public safety answering points are trained and that all telecommunicators who have worked for one year or longer must be trained.

California

CA flagSB 96 -- Amended existing law to charge a monthly fee on every cell phone and landline of up to 80 cents instead of a variable fee that relied more on landlines than on wireless phones. Imposed a surcharge on the purchase of prepaid mobile telephone services equal to the monthly surcharge of communication access lines.

SB 670 -- Requires the Office of Emergency Services (OES) to adopt by regulation thresholds for defining a community isolation outage. Subsequently, providers of telecommunication services are required to notify the OES of an outage that limits their customer’s ability to make 911 calls or receive emergency notifications within 60 minutes of discovering such an outage. The OES would then be responsible for notifying the office of emergency services of the counties affected by the outage.

AB 911 -- Requires the Office of Emergency Services to study the possibility of developing a statewide system that would give the option to all Californians, including at-risk persons, to voluntarily provide vital health and safety information to be made available to all first responders through an encrypted connection when a 911 call is placed.

AB 1168 -- Requires the Office of Emergency Services to develop a plan and timeline for the testing, implementation, and operation of a Next Generation 911 emergency coordination system including a text to 911 service throughout all California. Requires each public safety answering point to be capable of receiving short message service (SMS) and real-time text (RTT) text messages no later than Jan. 1, 2021.

Connecticut

CT flagSB 1082 -- Modifies the Division of State-Wide Emergency Telecommunication’s (DSET) responsibilities and statewide emergency service telecommunications policy. Establishes an enhanced subsidy formula for regional public safety answering points (PSAP) serving a population of at least 100,000, in addition to existing subsidies for municipalities with a population of 40,000 or more, and specifies that the subsidies to other regional PSAPs cannot be reduced. Requires DSET to examine a cost-of-living adjustment in the funding formula and report its findings and any recommendation for legislative action to the Public Safety and Security Committee.

Florida

FL flagHB 441 -- Requires the Department of Management Services to develop a plan by Feb. 1, 2020, to upgrade 911 public safety answering points (PSAP) within the state to allow the transfer of an emergency call from one local, multijurisdictional, or regional E911 system to another such E911 system in the state. Specifies that this transfer capability should include voice, text message, image, video, caller identification information, local information, and additional standard 911 call information. Additionally, requires the development and implementation of communications systems that allow direct radio communication between each PSAP and first responders outside the PSAP’s normal service area. Requires each county that has not yet done so, to develop a plan to implement countywide test-to-911 services and establish a system that would allow such services by Jan. 1, 2022. (As of July 2019, 35 counties in Florida were able to provide full active and operational text-to-911 service and an expected additional 27 counties were expected to implement such services by the end of the year).

Kansas

KS flagHB 2084 -- Changes and adds definitions. Modifies the membership of the 911 Coordinating Council and makes changes to the administration of funds by the council. Sets forth a process for the council to ensure that Geographic Information System (GIS) data for PSAPs remain up to date. Increased the 911 fee per month, per subscriber of any service capable of contacting a PSAP from 53 cents to 90 cents and for prepaid wireless customers from 1.2% to 2.06% per transaction. Authorizes the council to lower these fees, with the requirement that prepaid wireless fees must be lowered proportionally to any reduction of the 911 subscriber fees. Increased the minimum county distribution of 911 fees from $50,000 to $60,000. Requires 23 cents to be withheld from every 911 fee and deposited in the 911 Operations Fund for deployment and maintenance of the statewide NG911 system.

Kentucky

KY flagHB 340 -- Adds “Next Generation 911” to the definition of “911 emergency service”.

Maine

ME flagSB 139 -- Allows for the disclosure of an audio recording of an E911 call to the person who made the call or the person’s attorney.

HB 495 -- Requires the Emergency Services Communications Bureau to convene a stakeholder group to develop recommendations regarding standardized dispatch protocol requirements.

HB 1281 -- Modifies the definition of “9-1-1 call” to include text messaging and other methods of contacting E-9-1-1.

Maryland

MD flagSB 285 / SB 339 -- Expands the responsibilities of the Emergency Number Systems Board to include among others establishing minimum standards for cybersecurity, training standards for PSAP personnel, and minimum standards for records retention. Introduced three changes to the existing funding mechanism. First, the state portion of the 911 fee increased from 25 cents to 50 cents. Second, the total 9-1-1 fee, which amounts to $1.25 and includes a local fee of 75 cents, is now assessed per separate outbound call voice channel capacity instead of per account. And lastly, counties were given the option to increase their local fees up to an additional 75 cents if future audits reveal persisting discrepancies between the money collected and the cost of the system.

Michigan

MI flagSB 452 -- Modifies administration of 911 funds and 911 funds disbursement.

HB 4249 -- Creates new requirements and exemptions for multi-line telephone system (MLTS) operators. Requires MLTS operators to ensure than an MLTS could route 911 calls to the 911 network. Requires MLTS operators in a single building to identify the location of each communications device and in separate buildings the location of each communication device and other information depending on the size of the workplace. Prescribes the information that an MLTS operator must identify for each communications device at houses of worship and farms. Specifies that an MLTS operator can be exempt from specific location identification requirements if a building maintains, on a 24-hour basis, an alternative method of notification and adequate means of responding to emergencies.

Montana

MT flagHB 150 -- Provides for Tribal government participation in the 911 Advisory Council, 911 planning activities, and 911 distributions.

New Hampshire

NH flagSB 210 -- Added definitions for “telecommunicators” and “local dispatchers” to the law governing emergency medical and trauma services.

New York

NY flagAB 6546 -- Authorizes Broome County to raise 911 fees to up to $1.30 per access line to pay for the costs associated with updating equipment and services needed to provide enhanced 911 emergency telephone services.

North Carolina

NC flagHB 217 -- Makes changes to the powers and duties of the 911 Board, amends 911 Fund allocations and distributions to CMRS providers and PSAPs. Provides for implementation of enhanced and Next Generation 911. Requires PSAP to be able to receive and process calls for emergency services sent via text messages on or before July 1, 2020.

Oregon

OR flagHB 2449 -- Increases taxes for emergency communications from 75 cents to $1.25 per phone line or per device capable of reaching 911 phased in over two years.

Pennsylvania

PA flagSB 127 -- Makes changes to the 911 Board. Requires counties to make reasonable efforts to ensure that Geographic Information System (GIS) information is available and maintained to support Next Generation 911 call delivery. Authorizes the use of 911 funding to purchase a statewide system that would help identify phone numbers associated with a person with a physical disability, if such person voluntarily provided this information, when emergency calls are made.

HB 859 -- Provides for additional reporting requirements related to the integrated 911 emergency communications program. In addition to reporting on the revenues and distributions from the fund, the report must include a listing of any 911 systems that have merged or consolidated during the previous year.

South Carolina

SC flagHB 3586 -- Added definitions such as “NextGen9-1-1”, “ESInet”, “Legacy systems”, and others, to the law governing emergency communications. Requires the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office to create and update a comprehensive strategic 911 and Next Generation 911 system. Broadened the list of items that may be funded with certain 911 fees. Requires a local government to restore 911 funds that, according to an audit, were used inappropriately within 90 days. Created the South Carolina 911 Advisory Committee. Provided for certain 911 information that is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act or any other disclosure.

Texas

TX flagHB 4350 -- Relates to the efficient coordination of emergency response among public and private entities. Requires the approval of the applicable communications district’s board of managers and the consent of each participating jurisdiction and emergency services district before authorizing a certain public safety answering point to transmit emergency response requests to private safety entities.

Utah

UT flagHB 61 -- Requires counties and municipalities to submit certain information, including the location of new streets and developments, to be included in the Automated Geographic Reference Center’s Statewide 911 Emergency Service Database. Requires the State Geographic Information Database to contain certain information regarding each public highway in the state.

SB 154 -- Clarifies the definition of a public safety answering point (PSAP). Creates the PSAP Advisory Committee. Prohibits 911 communications to be redirected to anywhere other than the 911 emergency service network. Raises the unified statewide 911 emergency service charge from 9 cents to 25 cents.