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Eshoo, Shimkus Introduce Bipartisan Legislation To Fund And Improve 9-1-1 Systems

May 15th, 2019

Legislation Included in Energy and Commerce Infrastructure Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Representatives Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) and John Shimkus (IL-15), Co-Chairs of the Congressional NextGen 9-1-1 Caucus, introduced the Next Generation 9-1-1 Act to accelerate federal efforts to modernize the nation’s aging 9-1-1 systems.

“Communications have changed dramatically since the first 9-1-1 call was placed fifty years ago, but emergency call centers haven’t kept pace with these innovations,” Rep. Eshoo said. “Over 75 percent of Americans now own a smartphone, and our 9-1-1 call centers should be equipped with the best technology available to respond to calls for help. Next Generation (NG) 9-1-1 technology will help bring 9-1-1 call centers into the 21st Century, and our bill provides much needed funding for states and local communities to upgrade their 9-1-1 infrastructure, helping first responders and public safety officials save lives.”

“Most everyone knows to call 9-1-1 in an emergency,” said Shimkus. “But not everyone is aware of the limitations of our existing emergency communications infrastructure. This bipartisan legislation will help communities modernize their 9-1-1 systems to receive better information from more sources in an emergency.”

The Next Generation 9-1-1 Act authorizes $12 billion in federal funding to help state and local governments deploy NG 9-1-1 systems across the country. The upgrades are urgently needed to help move the country’s legacy 9-1-1 call centers into the digital age, enabling them to handle text messages, pictures, videos, and other information sent by smartphones, tablets, and other devices when faced with an emergency. The legislation also provides technical assistance and training, while ensuring 9-1-1 is kept under state and local control.

The Next Generation 9-1-1 Act was included in the Energy and Commerce $85 billion package of infrastructure priorities known as the Leading Infrastructure For Tomorrow’s (LIFT) America Act, which was introduced today, during National Infrastructure Week. Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Senator Catherine Marie Cortez Masto (D-NV).

Representatives Eshoo and Shimkus are longtime supporters of modernizing 9-1-1 systems. In 2011, they introduced the Next Generation 9-1-1 Advancement Act of 2011 to authorize federal funding to help state and local governments transition to NG 9-1-1 technology. The legislation was signed into law in 2012. As Co-Chairs of the Congressional NextGen 9-1-1 Caucus since 2003, Eshoo and Shimkus work to educate lawmakers, constituents, and communities about the importance of citizen-activated emergency response systems.

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