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Introduced Version House Bill 2690 History

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H. B. 2690

 

(By Delegates Wells, Hatfield and Guthrie)

[Introduced January 20, 2011; referred to the

Committee on Finance.]

 

 

 

 

A BILL to amend and reenact §24-6-6b of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to reverting the 911 fee on wireless telephones from $3 to 75¢; and reverting the distribution formula for 911 fees to a pro rata share of total fee revenues.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That §24-6-6b of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:

ARTICLE 6. LOCAL EMERGENCY TELEPHONE SYSTEM.

§24-6-6b. Wireless enhanced 911 fee.

    (a) All CMRS providers as defined in section two of this article shall, on a monthly basis or otherwise for good cause and as directed by order of the Public Service Commission, collect from each of their in-state two-way service subscribers a wireless enhanced 911 fee. As used in this section “in-state two-way service subscriber” shall have has the same meaning as that set forth in the rules of the Public Service Commission. No later than June 1, 2006, the Public Service Commission shall, after the receipt of comments and the consideration of evidence presented at a hearing, issue an updated order which directs the CMRS providers regarding all relevant details of wireless enhanced 911 fee collection, including the determination of who is considered an in-state two-way service subscriber and which shall specify how the CMRS providers shall deal with fee collection shortfalls caused by uncollectible accounts. The Public Service Commission shall solicit the views of the wireless telecommunications utilities prior to issuing the order.

    (b) The wireless enhanced 911 fee is three dollars 75¢ per month for each valid retail commercial mobile radio service subscription, as that term is defined by the Public Service Commission in its order issued under subsection (a) of this section. Provided, That Beginning on July, 1, 2005, the wireless enhanced 911 fee shall include 10¢ to be distributed to the West Virginia State Police to be used for equipment upgrades for improving and integrating their communication efforts with those of the enhanced 911 systems. Provided, however, That for the fiscal year beginning on the first day of July, two thousand five, and for every fiscal year thereafter, one million dollars of the wireless enhanced 911 fee shall be distributed by the Public Service Commission to subsidize the construction of towers. The moneys shall be deposited in a fund administered by the West Virginia Public Service Commission, entitled Enhanced 911 Wireless Tower Access Assistance Fund, and shall be expended in accordance with an enhanced 911 wireless tower access matching grant order adopted by the Public Service Commission. The commission order shall contain terms and conditions designed to provide financial assistance loans or grants to state agencies, political subdivisions of the state and wireless telephone carriers for the acquisition, equipping and construction of new wireless towers, which would provide enhanced 911 service coverage and which would not be available otherwise due to marginal financial viability of the applicable tower coverage area: Provided further, That the grants shall be allocated among potential sites based on application from county commissions demonstrating the need for enhanced 911 wireless coverage in specific areas of this state. Any tower constructed with assistance from the fund created by this subdivision shall be available for use by emergency services, fire departments and law-enforcement agencies communication equipment, so long as that use does not interfere with the carrier’s wireless signal: And provided further, That the Public Service Commission shall promulgate rules in accordance with article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to effectuate the provisions of this subsection. The Public Service Commission is specifically authorized to promulgate emergency rules: And provided further, That for the fiscal year beginning on the first day of July, two thousand six, and for every fiscal year thereafter, five percent of the wireless enhanced 911 fee money received by the Public Service Commission shall be deposited in a special fund established by the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to be used solely for the construction, maintenance and upgrades of the West Virginia Interoperable Radio Project and any other costs associated with establishing and maintaining the infrastructure of the system. Any funds remaining in this fund at the end of the fiscal year shall automatically be reappropriated for the following year.

    (c) Beginning in the year 1997, and every two years thereafter, the Public Service Commission shall conduct an audit of the wireless enhanced 911 fee and shall recalculate the fee so that it is the weighted average rounded to the nearest penny, as of March 1 of the respecification year, of all of the enhanced 911 fees imposed by the counties which have adopted an enhanced 911 ordinance. Provided, That The wireless enhanced 911 fee may never be increased by more than twenty-five percent of its value at the beginning of the respecification year Provided, however, That and the fee may never be less than the amount set in subsection (b) of this section. Provided further, That Beginning on July 1, 2005, the wireless enhanced 911 fee shall include 10¢ to be distributed to the West Virginia State Police to be used for equipment upgrades for improving and integrating their communication efforts with those of the enhanced 911 systems. And provided further, That beginning on the first day of July, two thousand five, one million dollars of the wireless enhanced 911 fee shall be distributed by the Public Service Commission to subsidize the construction of wireless towers as specified in said subsection.

    (d) The CMRS providers shall, after retaining a three-percent billing fee, send the wireless enhanced 911 fee moneys collected, on a monthly basis, to the Public Service Commission. The Public Service Commission shall, on a quarterly and approximately evenly staggered basis, disburse the fee revenue in the following manner:

    (1) Each county that does not have a 911 ordinance in effect as of the original effective date of this section in the year 1997 or has enacted a 911 ordinance within the five years prior to the original effective date of this section in the year 1997 shall receive eight and one-half tenths of one percent of the fee revenues received by the Public Service Commission. Provided, That after the effective date of this section, in the year 2005 When two or more counties consolidate into one county to provide government services, the consolidated county shall receive one percent of the fee revenues received by the Public Service Commission for itself and for each county merged into the consolidated county. Each county shall receive eight and one-half tenths of one percent a pro rata portion of the remainder of the fee revenues received by the Public Service Commission, Provided, however, That after the effective date of this section, in the year 2005 based on that county’s percentage of the total number of local exchange telephone access lines and line equivalents in service in the state. When two or more counties consolidate into one county to provide government services, the consolidated county shall receive one percent of the fee revenues received by the Public Service Commission for itself and for each county merged into the consolidated county. Then, from any moneys remaining, each county shall receive a pro rata portion of that remainder based on that county's population as determined in the most recent decennial census as a percentage of the state total population. The Public Service Commission shall recalculate the county disbursement percentages on a yearly basis, with the changes effective on July 1, and using data as of March 1. The public utilities which normally provide local exchange telecommunications service by means of lines, wires, cables, optical fibers or by other means extended to subscriber premises shall supply the data to the Public Service Commission on a county specific basis no later than June 1 of each year;

    (2) Counties which have an enhanced 911 ordinance in effect shall receive their share of the wireless enhanced 911 fee revenue for use in the same manner as the enhanced 911 fee revenues received by those counties pursuant to their enhanced 911 ordinances;

    (3) The Public Service Commission shall deposit the wireless enhanced 911 fee revenue for each county which does not have an enhanced 911 ordinance in effect into an escrow account which it has established for that county. Any county with an escrow account may, immediately upon adopting an enhanced 911 ordinance, receive the moneys which have accumulated in the escrow account for use as specified in subdivision (2) of this subsection. Provided, That A county that adopts a 911 ordinance after the original effective date of this section in the year 1997 or has adopted a 911 ordinance within five years of the original effective date of this section in the year 1997 shall continue to receive one percent of the total 911 fee revenue for a period of five years following the adoption of the ordinance. Thereafter, each county shall receive that county's eight and one-half tenths of one percent portion of the remaining fee revenue, being disbursed to counties on a pro rata basis. plus that county's additional pro rata portion of the fee revenues then remaining, based on that county's population as determined in the most recent decennial census as a percentage of the state total population: Provided, however, That every Every five years from the year 1997, all fee revenue residing in escrow accounts shall be disbursed on the pro rata basis specified in subdivision (1) of this subsection, except that data for counties without enhanced 911 ordinances in effect shall be omitted from the calculation and all escrow accounts shall begin again with a zero balance.

     (e) CMRS providers have the same rights and responsibilities as other telephone service suppliers in dealing with the failure by a subscriber of a CMRS provider to timely pay the wireless enhanced 911 fee.

    (f) Notwithstanding the provisions of section one-a of this article, for the purposes of this section, the term “county” means one of the counties provided in section one, article one, chapter one of this code.

    (g) From any funds distributed to a county pursuant to this section, a total of three percent shall be set aside in a special fund to be used exclusively for the purchase of equipment that will provide information regarding the x and y coordinates of persons who call an emergency telephone system through a commercial mobile radio service. Provided, That upon Upon purchase of the necessary equipment, the special fund shall be dissolved and any surplus shall be used for general operation of the emergency telephone system as may otherwise be provided by law.

    (h) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this code, beginning July 1, 2008, prepaid wireless calling service is no longer subject to the wireless enhanced 911 fee.

 

    NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to revert the 911 fee on wireless telephones from $3 to 75¢ while reverting the distribution formula for 911 fees to a pro rata share of total fee revenues.

 

     Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

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