Barrar 9-1-1 Funding Fix Heads to Senate
3/19/2013

HARRISBURG – With the E-911 Wireless Fund approaching bankruptcy, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives today unanimously approved legislation authored by Rep. Stephen E. Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware) to restructure the fund and ensure its viability into the future.

“When people dial 9-1-1, they expect someone to be there to help, and this legislation is about making sure our counties can continue this lifesaving service,” said Barrar.  “With advances in technology and the scarcity of revenue, it is important for our county 9-1-1 centers to assess money-saving strategies.  This legislation directs the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) to provide them with cost-cutting suggestions.”

House Bill 583 would authorize PEMA to provide counties with helpful suggestions to cut costs, including joint purchasing, regionalization and consolidation.  It also eliminates the current carryover system in the E-911 Wireless Fund, which is eating up a larger chunk of the budget each year.  Finally, it makes technical changes that would expand the spending authority for counties and their Public Safety Answering Points to ensure compliance with the 70 percent personnel funding allowed by law.

Barrar noted this is an issue that hits home because there is a funding shortfall in the Chester and Delaware county 9-1-1 systems, as well as across the state.  Cost- and equipment-sharing measures by county 9-1-1 centers would free up funding in the E-911 Wireless Fund and save individual counties a considerable amount of money.

“We need stable and sustainable funding for our 9-1-1 system,” said Barrar.  “The loss of landlines put the state in a real bind when people switched primarily to cell phones.  We have to be sure we are ahead of technology in how we fund this vital service.”

Barrar also noted that the committee is working with PEMA and county 9-1-1 centers on a future bill that would update provisions of the law and further examine the funding formula and surcharge on devices used to call 9-1-1.

House Bill 583 now heads to the Senate for consideration.  Barrar and PEMA consider it a major priority for this session.

More information about Barrar and his legislative priorities is available at www.SteveBarrar.com and www.Facebook.com/RepBarrar.

Representative Stephen E. Barrar
160th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact:  Nicole Wamsley
717.783.8063
nwamsley@pahousegop.com
Share |