Collins introduces legislation to stop 911 fee diversion
Press Release, Congressman Chris Collins
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today introduced legislation that prevents states from diverting fees collected from consumers on their phone bills, which are meant to be used to improve 911 emergency communications systems.
The Federal Communications Commission has found that New York diverts at least 41% of 911 fees that are collected for other non-public safety related purposes. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (CA-18) and Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07), Vice Chair of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, co-authored the bill and have also seen 911 fee diversion in their home states.
“It is completely unacceptable that we have seen states diverting fees meant to make important and necessary improvements to emergency response systems,” said Collins, R-Clarence. “Diverting these important fees puts lives in danger, especially in rural areas. I thank Congresswoman Eshoo and Congressman Lance for their support of this legislation and their commitment to making sure all communities across the nation can achieve the highest level of safety.”
Collins’ bill directs the FCC, in consultation with public safety organizations, and state, local and tribal governments, to determine the appropriate use of funds collected from consumers. Currently, states are able to set their own definition of what is a covered cost for 911 fees, which has allowed them to divert fees.
In April, Collins toured the Niagara County 911 call center with FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly where they called on the state of New York to stop diverting fees. Governor Cuomo has not stopped diverting fees, leading Collins to introduce the 911 Fee Integrity Act.