Washington, D.C. – On June 12, Senators Conrad Burns (R-MT) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), co-Chairs of the E9-1-1 Caucus, introduced legislation to address the challenges that the country is facing in regards to enhanced 9-1-1. The Enhanced 911 Emergency Communications Act of 2003 (S. 1250) would improve and promote the Nation’s public safety and citizen activated emergency response capabilities through the use of enhanced 911 services and upgrade Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) capabilities and related functions in receiving E-911 calls.
When an emergency occurs, Americans put all of their trust and faith in 9-1-1. This is one of the primary reasons many Americans cite for purchasing a cell phone, but many of our response centers lack the equipment, technology, and resources to respond to an emergency call made from a cell phone. This legislation guarantees funding for E9-1-1 so that critical infrastructure can be put in to place and first responders can more quickly respond to save lives.
Provisions in the Enhanced 911 Emergency Act of 2003 include:
- Creation of the NTIA Task Force – Requires the Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to establish an Emergency Communications Task Force to facilitate coordination between federal, state, and local communications systems.
- Authorizes $500 million per year for grants to enhance emergency communications services through planning, infrastructure improvements, equipment purchases, and personnel training and acquisition. Fifty percent matching grants would be available to state, local, and tribal governments.
- Administered by the NTIA, the grant program would require consultation with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Preference in grants would go to applications that coordinated with PSAPs and integrated public and commercial services.
- The FCC is required to review, twice a year, fees for enhancing 911 services. States would be required to certify that no E-911 fees are being used for other purposes.
- The FCC is required to notify Congress of states that divert E911 funds and the NTIA is required to withhold grant funds to states that are found by the FCC to divert E911 funds.
- The legislation was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.