OFFICE OF FISCAL ANALYSIS

Legislative Office Building, Room 5200

Hartford, CT 06106 (860) 240-0200

http: //www. cga. ct. gov/ofa

sHB-7270

AN ACT CONCERNING THE EMERGENCY 9-1-1 SURCHARGE AND MISUSE OF THE E 9-1-1 SYSTEM.

As Amended by House "A" (LCO 7424), House "B" (LCO 7372)

House Calendar No. : 158

OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 08 $

FY 09 $

Public Safety, Dept.

Enhanced 9-1-1 Telecommunications Fund - Revenue Gain

Significant

Significant

Correction, Dept. ; Judicial Department (Probation)

GF - Cost/Savings

Potential

Potential

Judicial Dept.

GF - Revenue Impact

Minimal

Minimal

Various State Agencies

GF - Cost

Potential Minimal

Potential Minimal

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact:

Municipalities

Effect

FY 08 $

FY 09 $

Various Municipalities

Cost

Potential Minimal

Potential Minimal

Explanation

The bill expands the monthly assessed fee on each telephone and commercial mobile radio service to include prepaid wireless service providers and voice over internet protocol (VOIP) services. The expansion of assessments is estimated to impact approximately 250,000 prepaid wireless lines, and over 82,000 VOIP customers1, which will result in an indeterminate increase in revenue to the Enhanced 9-1-1 Telecommunications Fund. The VOIP customers will be assessed the current surcharge2monthly.

Prepaid wireless service providers will also be assessed the current monthly surcharge. However, if the provider is unable to assess the fee against each number or account, the provider must pay an amount equal to its total prepaid services revenue received each month divided by forty, multiplied by the current monthly surcharge. It is unknown how frequently providers will be unable to assess fees against their customers, and how the calculation contained in the bill will impact the amount of revenue collected.

To the extent that various state agencies and municipalities use prepaid wireless service providers or VOIP, a minimal cost may be incurred.

Additionally, the bill makes it a crime, punishable by up to six months' imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $1,000, for any person to abuse the emergency 9-1-1 system. Any such offender is subject to harsher criminal penalties under current law provisions against the false reporting of an incident. The direction of the bill's net effect on criminal sentencing (and corresponding costs or savings) is uncertain. More offenders may be convicted since a broader range of criminal penalties would be available under the bill; however, some offenders could receive lighter sentences than under current law, which provides for up to one year imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $2,000 for any violation of CGS 53a-180c (falsely reporting an incident in the second degree). In 2006, there were 192 offenses of falsely reporting an incident in the second degree which resulted in 65 convictions. It is unknown how many of these cases involved abuse of the emergency 9-1-1 system. It is anticipated that any revenue impact from criminal fines under the bill would be minimal.

House “A” makes changes to the calculation used to determine the amount of money that is deposited into the Enhanced 9-1-1 Telecommunications Fund. The amount deposited each month is calculated by dividing the total earned prepaid wireless telephone services revenue by forty (rather than fifty in the original bill), and multiplied by the amount of the 9-1-1 fee. Since the revenue is divided by forty rather than fifty, it is anticipated that House “A” will result in a revenue increase to the Enhanced 9-1-1 Telecommunications Fund. As the number of prepaid wireless customers is unknown, the increase in revenue is indeterminate. House “A” makes various other changes, which are not anticipated to result in a fiscal impact.

House “B” makes changes to the membership of the State-Wide Emergency Management and Homeland Security Coordinating Council, and is not anticipated to result in a fiscal impact.

The Out Years

The revenue impact to the Enhanced 9-1-1 Telecommunications Fund will fluctuate depending on the rate of the assessment, which is determined each May by the Department of Public Utility Control. Additionally, the revenue impact will fluctuate with the use of prepaid wireless services and voice over internet protocol.

1 Vonage is the largest VOIP company in Connecticut.

2 The FY 06 monthly fee was 37 cents.