PA 07-106—sHB 7270
Public Safety and Security Committee
Energy and Technology Committee
Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee
AN ACT CONCERNING THE EMERGENCY 9-1-1 SURCHARGE, THE MISUSE OF THE E 9-1-1 SYSTEM AND THE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND HOMELAND SECURITY COORDINATING COUNCIL
SUMMARY: This act establishes a crime of misusing the emergency 911 (E 911) system and makes violations a class B misdemeanor (see Table on Penalties). A person is guilty of this crime if he or she (1) dials E 911 or causes it to be dialed in order to make a false alarm or complaint or (2) purposely reports false information that could result in the dispatch of emergency services.
By law, telephone companies must forward the telephone number and street address from which a 911 call is made to a safety answering point. The companies and their agents are immune from liability to the person making the call over the E 911 system for the release of this information. The act extends these provisions to companies providing voice over internet protocol (VOIP) service (e. g. , Vonage) and their agents but allows a VOIP provider to meet the forwarding requirement by complying with relevant federal law. It also requires VOIP providers and active prepaid wireless telephone service providers providing E 911 services to comply with federal law, and also to comply with state law, if the provisions in state law are not addressed in, or inconsistent with, federal law and regulations.
By law, the Department of Public Utility Control must determine the amount of the monthly fee assessed against each telephone and commercial mobile radio services subscriber to fund the development and administration of the E 911 program. (Commercial mobile radio services include personal communications services (PCS), among others. ) The act extends this requirement to cover the VOIP and prepaid wireless service providers. It requires the VOIP and prepaid wireless telephone service providers to assess their subscribers the fee.
The act increases the number of emergency management officials on the State-wide Emergency Management and Homeland Security Coordinating Council from one to two.
EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2007, except for the provisions making misuse of E 911 a crime and the monthly fee assessments, which are effective October 1, 2007; upon passage for the council membership change.
Active Prepaid Wireless Telephone Service
Under the act, “active prepaid wireless telephone service” is a prepaid wireless telephone service that has an account balance that is at least equal to the E 911 charge imposed by the act. A “prepaid wireless telephone service” is one activated in advance by payment for a set amount of service or for a number of minutes that terminates (1) when the customer uses them, based on a dollar amount paid in advance, or (2) within a certain time after the initial purchase or activation, unless the customer makes additional payments.
Under the act, VOIP is a service that allows real-time two-way voice communication, generally allowing subscribers to make and receive calls using the public switched telephone network. The service requires a broadband connection and Internet-compatible customer premises and equipment.
The act requires VOIP service providers to assess a monthly fee against each subscriber to fund the E 911 program in the same way as telephone companies. It requires that the fees be collected in any way consistent with the VOIP provider's existing operating or technological abilities and submitted to the state treasurer.
The act requires that each active prepaid wireless service provider pay a fee to the state treasurer for deposit in the Enhanced 9-1-1 Telecommunications Fund based on one of two schemes outlined in the act.
One requires that a prepaid wireless service provider pay a fee on each prepaid wireless telephone associated with Connecticut, for each wireless service customer that has a positive balance of minutes as of the last day of each month. The fee can be collected from subscribers in any way consistent with the provider's existing operating or technological abilities, such as customer address, location associated with the telephone number originally assigned to the telephone, or other reasonable allocation method based upon comparable relevant data. The fee or an equivalent number of minutes may be deducted from the prepaid subscriber's account if direct billing is not practicable. However, such deductions do not reduce the price of the service for the purposes of the sales tax.
As an alternative to the above, the act requires that, each month, an active prepaid wireless service provider remit an amount determined by dividing by 40 the total of earned prepaid wireless telephone services revenue received during the month from prepaid wireless telephone service accounts with an assigned telephone number associated with Connecticut and multiplying the result by the amount of the fee.
Both types of providers must remit their fees by the 15th of each month for deposit in the Enhanced 9-1-1 Telecommunications Fund.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND HOMELAND SECURITY COUNCIL
Under prior law, this council included one local or regional civil preparedness director appointed by the House speaker. The act adds another member and requires that the Connecticut Emergency Management Association designate this member by July 1, 2007. It replaces the term “civil preparedness director” with “emergency management director” to conform to other statutes. Members serve three years from the time of appointment or until a successor is appointed.
The council advises the departments of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and Public Safety on emergency management and homeland security preparedness, policies, and responses, among other things.
By law, falsely reporting an incident is a crime. The crime ranges from a class A misdemeanor to a class C felony, depending on the actions taken and their results.
OLR Tracking: KM: GC: PF: RO