2021 Key Enacted 911 Legislation

3/14/2022

911 dialed on an iPhone

The legislation listed below includes key 2021 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 and retirement. See NCSL’s 911 Bill Tracking Database for a more complete list of 911 legislation introduced and enacted in 2021.

Introduction

Thirty-seven states enacted 84 bills in 2021, excluding appropriation bills, to support and improve the operation of public emergency communications services. New laws mainly concern 911 funding; training telecommunicators in telephone cardiopulmonary resuscitation, known as T-CPR; and new mental health crisis hotlines. 

Four states—Arkansas, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Texas—enacted training requirements for 911 telecommunicators to learn T-CPR, allowing them to deliver CPR instructions to callers. The four bills were introduced as out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidents increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. T-CPR is an effort to encourage the use of CPR before the arrival of emergency medical services, which can give someone experiencing cardiac arrest a two-to three-fold higher likelihood of survival. T-CPR is a component of emergency medical dispatch, which includes protocols for 911 telecommunicators to provide callers with instructions to triage a variety of medical issues until paramedics or other assistance arrives..

Two states—Mississippi and Montana—created or increased fees related to 911 services. Mississippi increased its fees for residential and commercial telephone subscribers and established a separate fee for wireless service that will be used to pay for E911 operations. The Montana Legislature passed a bill requiring sellers of prepaid wireless services to collect a new 2% fee on all 911 transactions.

Five states—Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska and Oregon—passed legislation relating to mental health crisis hotlines. All the enacted bills aim to redirect individuals experiencing mental health crises to a crisis team or health provider specifically equipped to deal with mental health or behavioral problems. Oregon, for example, passed legislation to expand statewide mobile crisis intervention programs that coordinate emergency medical services, crisis response and follow-up services to callers from multiple hotlines using technology such as texting to provide a more efficient response.

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US States With Key 911 Enactments in 2021

Select a state in the map to see a summary of its enacted legislation.

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California

California SB 341 strengthens the outage-reporting and resiliency requirements for telecommunications and infrastructure providers who provide 911 services in the event of a power outage.

Colorado

Colorado SB 156 creates a pilot grant program to use nurses in 911 dispatch centers to divert 911 calls that do not require emergency medical services to more appropriate options for medical care. Four different public safety answering points must participate in the program and report the results, including patient satisfaction scores, clinical outcomes and annual savings to the state health care system, to the legislature by Sept. 1, 2023.

Colorado HB 1030 expands the peace officers behavioral health support and community partnerships grant program. The program allows additional public safety and behavioral health agencies to apply for grants to law enforcement, behavioral health entities, community-based social service and behavioral health providers, peace officer organizations and public safety agencies. The grants may be used to implement community-based alternative emergency responses, peer-support programs, training and education programs about symptoms and treatment of trauma and to cover counseling costs for peace officers and their immediate family members.

Connecticut

Connecticut HB 6302 establishes a task force to study consolidation of public safety answering points (PSAPs) while prioritizing public safety. The task force will report on findings and recommendations, including the time frame for consolidation and how and where to locate regional PSAPs. A final version of the report is due to the legislature by Jan. 1, 2023. 

Connecticut SB 660 expanded workers compensation benefits for telecommunicators who experience “mental or emotional impairments” as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maryland

Maryland SB 714/HB 989 requires certain providers of 911 accessible service, which is any communications service connecting 911 callers to a public safety answering point (PSAP), to notify PSAPs and the 911 board of a service outage lasting more than 30 minutes and affecting more than 600,000 user minutes. User minutes are calculated by multiplying the outage’s duration by the number of potentially impacted users. The bill also increases the number of 911 board members from 17 to 24. The newly expanded board must establish training standards for PSAP staff related to mental wellness, strategies to support new hires and 911 specialist recruitment efforts. Lastly, the Commission to Advance Next Generation 911 Across Maryland was required to report to the Legislature on the demographic information and employment requirements for 911 specialists, as well as a plan to provide implicit bias training for specialists by Dec. 12, 2021. 

Maryland MD SB 286/HB 108 requires part of an appropriation be used to award competitive grants for mobile crisis teams beginning in 2023. Such teams must operate 24/7 to provide assessments, crisis intervention, stabilization, follow-up and referral to urgent care and behavioral health services.

Utah

Utah HB 248 establishes a grant program to provide mental health resources for first responders, including dispatchers. The state’s Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health must provide an update to the Legislature on the progress of the program by June 30, 2024. 

Virginia

Virginia SB 1302 redesignates the state’s crisis call center as the 988 Crisis Hotline Center to comply with requirements in the federal National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020. The bill also increases the wireless E911 surcharge from 75 cents to 94 cents and the prepaid wireless E911 charge from 50 cents to 63 cents. Revenue generated from these increases will be distributed to public safety answering and a newly created fund for crisis call centers.

West Virginia

West Virginia HB 3107 recognizes post-traumatic stress disorder as an occupational disease for emergency responders, including dispatchers. As a result, a diagnosis of PTSD cannot result in any layoff, termination or disciplinary action.

Vermont

Vermont SB 42 establishes the Emergency Service Provider Wellness Commission. The commission must provide recommendations for interventions and support for the emergency service provider community, such as a wellness resource center, peer support and qualified clinician services for emergency services providers, including 911 dispatchers. 

Texas

Texas HB 2911 establishes the Next Generation 911 service fund and sets the target date for statewide implementation of NG911 services before Sept. 1, 2025.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island SB 385/HB 5629 requires certified emergency medical dispatchers and 911 telecommunicators to be trained in telecommunicator CPR to coach a person who has called 911 about a cardiac arrest incident. All 911 telecommunicators must also be trained in emergency medical dispatch procedures, which include how to recognize and provide CPR instructions to a caller for a variety of medical conditions. Additionally, the bill establishes a comprehensive call review and quality improvement program, including monitoring of cardiac arrest calls and critical calls, as well as a random sampling of all calls.

Oregon

Oregon HB 2417 requires the Oregon Health Authority to administer grants to cities or counties to operate mobile crisis intervention team programs. The bill mandates that local crisis centers must assist with emergency services such as 988 suicide hotline calls, and deploy local mobile crisis intervention teams and follow-up services. The centers must also use technology like texting to coordinate responses for individuals seeking help through 911, 211 and suicide prevention hotlines. The bill states the goal of the programs is to solve crises with the least invasive interventions possible. The health authority was required to report recommendations on policies that may be necessary to expand the system to legislative interim committees by Jan. 1, 2022. 

North Carolina

North Carolina HB 404 limits liability for public safety answering points, except in cases of gross negligence or wanton or willful misconduct.

Nebraska

Nebraska LB 247 establishes a task force to develop a plan for a mental health crisis hotline connecting callers to a mental health or behavioral professional. The task force must conduct a cost analysis to determine how a fee on telecommunications services, wireless device services, and internet protocol-enabled voice services could be designed to cover the costs of the mental health crisis hotline. The task force must provide recommendations on the cost structure, accessibility and staffing to the Legislature and the governor. 

Michigan

Michigan HB 5026 specifies that all 911 systems must be capable of transmitting calls for emergency services to a public safety answering point closest to where the call originates. All 911 systems must also be able to process requests from any device such as a cellphone or smart watch that is connected to a communications service provider. 

Montana

Montana SB 14 includes tribal governments in a grant program for telecommunications providers that host public safety answering points. The program previously only provided grants to private telecommunications providers and local government entities.

Montana SB 81 creates a $1 transaction fee on prepaid wireless lines for 911 services and allows sellers of prepaid wireless services to deduct and retain 2% of the fee for each transaction collected. 

Montana SB 219 allows a mobile service provider to share a caller’s phone location with a law enforcement agency, public safety answering point or personnel of emergency communications systems in an emergency.

Mississippi

Mississippi HB 74 requires the collection of increased emergency telephone service charges, which may be up to $1 for each residential telephone subscriber and Voice over Internet Protocol subscriber, and $2 for each commercial telephone subscriber line per month. Establishes the Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS) board and a fee of $1 per month for every CMRS (wireless) customer, of which 30% will be distributed to the CMRS fund and 70% will be used to pay for E911 operations.

Maine

Maine HB 343 provides funding to support E911 dispatchers diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of work-related stress.

Illinois

Illinois HB 2784 creates the Community Emergency Services and Support Act, which requires 911 telecommunicators to coordinate with mobile mental and behavioral health services established by the Division of Mental Health if a caller needs such assistance. Additionally, the DMH must create a Statewide Advisory Committee to provide recommendations for coordinating between 911 and the 988 mental health response systems. The DMH must also establish advisory committees within each emergency medical services region to advise on regional matters related to emergency response systems for mental and behavioral health.   

Illinois SB 2530 requires a wireless service provider, upon request from a law enforcement agency or public safety answering point, to provide call location information of users who call for emergency services. A law enforcement agency or PSAP can only request this information for the purposes of responding to a call for emergency services or a situation that involves the risk of death or serious physical harm. 

Illinois HB 3743 requires every municipal 911 system that supports a population of less than 500,000 to provide Next Generation 911 (NG911) services within 18 months of awarding a contract to provide such services. Municipalities with populations of more than 500,000 have until Dec. 31, 2023, to provide NG911 services. The monthly surcharge rate imposed on telephone users for each line capable of accessing the 911 system cannot exceed $2.50 for municipalities with populations of more than 500,000, starting Jan. 1, 2024, rather than the previously scheduled date of Jan. 1, 2022. The bill expands the definition of NG911 to include system functions such as processing text and video emergency calls or delivering emergency calls to the PSAP based on the location of the caller. 

The bill provides that the Office of the Statewide 911 Administrator and 911 Advisory Board must develop comprehensive training on emergency dispatch procedures and additional standards for continuous education by June 3, 2022. Within the following year, all PSAP telecommunicators, including new hires, must complete the training or demonstrate proficiency in delivering 911 services. Continuous training regarding the delivery of 911 services is required every two years. 

Georgia

Georgia HB 631 requires the state Emergency Communications Authority to develop a system to collect and disseminate information voluntarily submitted to public safety answering points indicating an individual has a physical, mental or neurological condition that impedes his or her ability to communicate with emergency responders or law enforcement. 

Arkansas

Arkansas SB 179 requires the establishment of a fire protection district map to be submitted to the state Geographic Systems Office annually. The map must be maintained by the 911 board and incorporated into the state’s Next Generation 911 framework before 2022 for the efficient operation of the 911 emergency system.

Arkansas HB 1373 requires the staff of public safety answering points or dispatch centers to receive training in telephone cardiopulmonary resuscitation—the delivery by phone of compression or ventilation instructions to suspected cases of cardiac arrest.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma SB 687 requires the Oklahoma 9-1-1 Management Authority to develop a master plan to deploy Next Generation 911 services statewide and include the development of performance criteria critical to the function and performance of NG911 networks and systems. The bill allows the Oklahoma Tax Commission to escrow any or all funds collected pursuant to the Oklahoma 9-1-1 Management Authority, if a public agency fails to: create a master plan that aligns with the state’s master plan to deploy NG911, submit annual required reports or audits, or provide connectivity and interoperability between state, regional and local next-generation systems. 

The bill also requires training programs for 911 call takers to include instructions on delivering telecommunicator CPR during suspected cases of cardiac arrest.