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Next Generation 911 Legislation Could See Vote This Week in House

Posted on February 5, 2018 by Dene Westbrook

Senate Bill 400 is anticipated to see a floor vote in the House this week. The League is supportive of the legislation as it was passed out of committee. Please contact your state Representative and encourage them to pass SB 400 without amendments.  Below are talking points for the legislation.

Why does Michigan need Next Generation 911?

The existing analog copper 911 network is antiquated, using 55-year-old technology riddled with technical limitations that cannot support modern communications technology.

What does Next Generation 911 do?

Next Generation 911 is an IP network that is more reliable, redundant, resilient, and has the capacity and capability to send more data with the voice call to the appropriate 911 Center.

The Next Generation 911 network allows for the delivery of improved wireless location accuracy which provides for more accurate and efficient delivery to the appropriate 911 Center and a more efficient response from first responders to an emergency.   This is critical with wireless 911 calls being more than 80% of 911 callers today.

The Next Generation 911 network improves access to 911 for all citizens including the deaf and hard of hearing community through direct access utilizing text to 911, and the opportunity to transmit other multi-media such as photos and videos.

The Next Generation 911 network allows for seamless transfers of 911 calls between geographically diverse 911 Centers in all situations such as a wireless caller on the move or call overload from a major incident.

How much will it cost?

The bill dedicates the following additional amounts to NG 911 network service delivery and other costs:

NG 911 Network Delivery:     roughly $19.0 million

County 911 Operations:         roughly $0.5 million

MSP Regional Dispatch:        roughly $0.1 million

State 911 Administration:       roughly $0.4 million

911 Training:                          roughly $0.3 million

Total:                                      roughly $20.2 million

Where do we get the money?

The existing funding mechanisms are inadequate to fund the new network and related IP routing and delivery of 911 calls while supporting the legacy network during the transition. The fund will be depleted by this summer.

The legislative framework of SB 400 outlines an adjustment in the state 911 fee from 19 to 25 cents, generating approximately an additional $6.4 million annually. This recommended adjustment is in line with the current statute Sec.401a.(2)(4) which states “the state 911 charge shall not be more than 25 cents or less than 15 cents” and “shall reflect the actual costs of operating, maintaining, upgrading, and other reasonable and necessary expenditures for the 911 system in this state”.

The legislative amendments of SB 400 also outline an adjustment to the amount collected from prepay wireless phone retailers from 1.92% to 5%.  This new rate establishes equitable contributions from prepay customers and is calculated using the latest weighted average of local and state 911 charges. It is estimated that this change will generate approximately an additional $13.8 million dollars.

What else is in the bill?

  • Creation of a definition for IP-based 911 service providers.
  • Retains the current $.42 cap on the amount that a county board of commissioners can levy by board resolution for local 911 operations and dispatch.
  • Allows a county or service district to change its 911 service provider in its 911 plan by board resolution.
  • Makes the wireline companies’ technical surcharge consistent across the state rather than county by county.
  • Provides the MPSC with standing to take action if fees are not reported, charged, collected, or remitted to the fund. It also requires reporting on such actions.
  • Changes auditing requirements to require counties, not just PSAPs, to ascertain that the auditing of 911 funds is conducted. It also changes the state 911 fund audit, by the auditor general, to a biennial, rather than annual, process.
  • Requires the MPSC to hear a case to establish the process for NG 911 reimbursements for network costs for providers that meet NENA i3 standards for NG 911. Requires that the MPSC  only approve reimbursement invoices from the U14000 fund for “costs related to the transport, routing, or delivery to PSAPs of IP based 911.” Finally, it requires contracts entered into after the effective date of the act to be competitively bid.
  • Requires a report from the MPSC to the governor and legislature on NG 911 costs and projected future expenses (the entire act sunsets in 2021).

 

Jennifer Rigterink is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at jrigterink@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

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