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General Laws

Section 18B. (a) There shall be, within the executive office of public safety and security, a state 911 department. The secretary of public safety and security shall, with the advice of the commission, appoint and, subject to appropriation or funds otherwise available from other sources, fix the salary of an executive director of the department. The director shall be responsible for administering, directing and managing the affairs and business of the department, and for the appointment and supervision of all personnel at the department. The director shall not be subject to section 9A of chapter 30 or chapter 31, but shall be classified in accordance with section 45 of said chapter 30 and the salary therefore shall be determined in accordance with section 46C of said chapter 30. The executive director may appoint such other employees, including experts and consultants, as he deems necessary, subject to appropriation or available funds, to carry out the department’s responsibilities.

(b) There shall be, within the executive office of public safety and security, a state 911 commission to provide strategic oversight and guidance to the department, and advise the department relative to its annual budget and all material changes thereto and in all matters regarding enhanced 911 service in the commonwealth. The commission shall consist of: the secretary of public safety and security, who shall serve as chairperson of the commission; the chief information officer of the information technology division; the colonel of state police; the state fire marshal; the police commissioner of the city of the Boston; the director of the Massachusetts office on disability; the commissioner of public health; the commissioner of the Massachusetts commission for the deaf and hard of hearing; and 11 members to be appointed by the governor, 1 of whom shall be a sitting police chief and a nominated representative of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Police Association, 1 of whom shall be a sitting police chief and a nominated representative of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs Association, 2 of whom shall be sitting fire chiefs and nominated representatives of the Massachusetts Fire Chiefs Association, 1 of whom shall be a nominated representative of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts, 1 of whom shall be a nominated representative of the Massachusetts Sheriffs Association, 1 of whom shall be a nominated representative of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, 1 of whom shall be a nominated representative of the Massachusetts Emergency Medical Care Advisory Board, 1 of whom shall be a nominated representative of the Massachusetts Ambulance Association, and 1 of whom shall be a manager or supervisor of a PSAP and a nominated representative of the Massachusetts Communication Supervisors Association. One of the governor’s appointees shall be elected annually by the commission as its vice chairperson. Members of the commission shall be appointed for terms of 3 years with no limit on the number of terms they may serve. Members shall hold office until a successor is appointed and no member shall serve beyond the time he ceases to hold the office or employment that made him eligible for appointment to the commission. The commission shall meet at least twice annually, and at other times as necessary. A meeting of the commission may be called by its chairperson, the vice chairperson or 3 of its members. A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of 7 members. Members of the commission shall receive no compensation, but shall be reimbursed for their expenses actually and necessarily incurred in the discharge of their duties. The commission shall review and approve by a majority vote of those members present all formulas, percentages, guidelines or other mechanisms used to distribute the grants described in section 18B, and all major contracts that the department proposes to enter into for enhanced 911 services. The commission shall review and approve by a majority vote of those members present all regulations and standards proposed by the department.

(c) There shall be established a policy advisory committee for the sole purpose of advising the state 911 commission and state 911 department on pertinent subject matter relative to enhanced 911 service, enhanced 911 systems and enhanced 911 network features. The advisory board shall consist of 5 members, 1 of whom shall represent an incumbent local exchange carrier, 1 of whom shall represent a competitive local exchange carrier registered in the commonwealth, 1 of whom shall represent a PSAP customer premises equipment provider, 1 of whom shall represent an interconnected VoIP provider, and 1 of whom shall represent a wireless carrier. Members of the advisory board shall be residents of the state and shall be appointed by the governor from a list of qualified candidates provided by industry representatives for terms of 3 years with no limit on the number of terms they may serve. A meeting of the policy advisory committee may be called by the state 911 commission chairperson, vice chairperson, or 3 of its members. Members of the policy advisory committee shall receive no compensation, but shall be reimbursed for their expenses actually and necessarily incurred in the discharge of their duties. The advisory board shall review all issues relative to industry interaction and network compatibility with the current enhanced 911 system, and with next generation 911. The policy advisory committee shall file a written report annually with the state 911 commission and the state 911 department.

(d) The department shall coordinate and effect the implementation of enhanced 911 service, and administer such service in the commonwealth. The department, with the commission’s approval, shall promulgate rules and regulations for the administration of such service in accordance with chapter 30A, including technical and operational standards for the establishment of PSAPs which utilize enhanced 911 service features in accordance with sections 18A to 18J, inclusive, and section 14A of chapter 166. Cities and towns shall comply with such standards in the design, implementation and operation of PSAPs. The department may inspect any PSAP that utilizes enhanced 911 network features to determine if it meets the requirements of said sections and all other technical and operational standards required by law. In implementing wireless enhanced 911 service and enhanced 911 for IP-enabled services, the department shall promulgate rules and regulations consistent with the provisions required by the FCC.

(e) The number of PSAPs and enhanced 911 answering positions at primary and regional PSAPs shall be determined by the department according to a formula that takes into account cost, call volume, population, efficiency and the public safety needs of cities and towns. Applications for secondary PSAPs shall be reviewed and approved by the department. The PSAP customer premises equipment, installation and operation costs of secondary PSAPs shall be the responsibility of the applicant, but the department may provide such equipment and related maintenance if the applicant so requests and meets eligibility requirements established by the department in standards approved by the commission. Network and database services for secondary PSAPs shall be provided as approved by the department. Applications for regional secondary PSAPs shall be reviewed and approved by the department. The PSAP customer premises equipment and installation of such equipment shall be provided by the department from the development grant set forth in paragraph (5) of subsection (i) in accordance with guidelines to be established by the department with the commission’s approval. Network and database services for regional secondary PSAPs shall be provided as approved by the department.

(f) The department shall disburse funds from the Enhanced 911 Fund for prudently-incurred expenses associated with: the lease, purchase, upgrade or modification of primary and regional PSAP customer premises equipment and the maintenance of such equipment; network development, operation and maintenance; database development, operation, and maintenance; training of 911 telecommunicators regarding the receipt and use of enhanced 911 service information; education of consumers regarding the operation, limitation, role and responsible use of enhanced 911 service; grants associated with enhanced 911 service as set forth in subsection (i) and any other grant approved by the department associated with providing enhanced 911 service in the commonwealth; the recurring and nonrecurring costs of communication services providers in providing enhanced 911 service in the commonwealth to the extent required by federal or Massachusetts law or regulation or federal or Massachusetts agency decision or order; and other expenses incurred by the state 911 department in administering and operating the enhanced 911 system in the commonwealth.

(g) Consistent with federal law and regulation, t he department, with the commission’s approval, shall establish: performance measure standards for the enhanced 911 service provider for network, database, and PSAP customer premises equipment and associated maintenance services; service level standards for communication services providers for providing enhanced 911 service in the commonwealth including, but not limited to, standards for the provision of enhanced 911 access for the disabled community; certification requirements for enhanced 911 telecommunicators including, but not limited to, emergency medical dispatch and quality assurance of emergency medical dispatch programs; standards requiring PSAPs to have certified emergency medical dispatch personnel or to provide emergency medical dispatch through a certified emergency medical dispatch resource; and guidelines for developing and administering any grant authorized in subsection (i), or any other grant associated with providing enhanced 911 service in the commonwealth approved by the commission and the department of telecommunications and cable upon the petition of the department including, but not limited to, provisions requiring municipalities to provide documentation of expenditures. The department of telecommunications and cable shall conduct its review and issue a decision within 90 days of the date the department files its petition, but the request for approval shall be deemed approved if the department of telecommunications and cable does not issue its decision within 90 days. The department shall initiate a voluntary program in which municipalities may contribute timely address information to support the enhanced 911 database.

(h) The department shall review and assess the technological and operational capability and financial feasibility of wireless 911 calls being routed to and handled directly by the PSAP in which the caller is located, and if such capability exists, the department shall establish standards, with the commission’s approval, by which such PSAPs may receive wireless calls. The department shall review and assess new communications technologies that may include, but are not limited to, wireless, video, broadband, and IP-based applications that may serve as the next generation 911 technology platforms, consistent with FCC decisions and federal law.

(i) The department shall develop and administer grant programs to assist PSAPs and regional emergency communication centers in providing enhanced 911 service and to foster the development of regional PSAPs, regional secondary PSAPs and regional emergency communication centers. The following grant programs shall be funded by the department as specified, and the department may add necessary personnel to develop and administer such grant programs as set forth in subparagraphs (1) to (5), inclusive.

(1) The PSAP and regional emergency communication center training grant shall reimburse primary, regional and regional secondary PSAPs and regional emergency communication centers for allowable expenses related to the training and certification of enhanced 911 telecommunicators. Funds shall be disbursed according to a formula that weighs both population served and 911 call volume, unless a different formula is approved by the commission. Five per cent of the total surcharge revenues of the previous fiscal year shall be allocated to this grant, unless such percentage is otherwise increased by the approval of the commission for the purposes of this grant. Any such increase to a level of 7.5 per cent or more shall also be approved by the department of telecommunications and cable, upon petition of the department. The department of telecommunications and cable shall conduct its review and issue a decision within 90 days of the date the department files its petition, but the request for approval shall be deemed approved if the department of telecommunications and cable does not issue its decision within 90 days. The department, with commission approval, may decrease such percentage in any fiscal year for budgetary reasons, but to a level not less than 3.75 per cent of the total surcharge revenues of the previous fiscal year.

(2) The PSAP and regional emergency communication center support grant shall reimburse: primary, regional and regional secondary PSAPs and regional emergency communication centers for allowable expenses related to enhanced 911 telecommunicator personnel costs, and the acquisition and maintenance of heat, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment and other environmental control equipment, computer-aided dispatch systems, console furniture, dispatcher chairs, radio consoles, and fire alarm receipt and alert equipment associated with providing enhanced 911 service; regional PSAPs and regional emergency communication centers for allowable expenses related to the acquisition and maintenance of public safety radio systems; regional secondary PSAPs for allowable expenses related to PSAP customer premises equipment maintenance; and primary, regional, and regional secondary PSAPs and regional emergency communication centers for any other equipment and related maintenance associated with providing enhanced 911 service as approved by the department. Funds shall be disbursed according to a formula that weighs both population served and 911 call volume, unless a different formula is approved by the commission. Twenty-five per cent of the total surcharge revenues of the previous fiscal year shall be allocated to this grant, unless such percentage is otherwise increased by the approval of the commission for the purposes of this grant. Any such increase to a level of 31.25 per cent or more shall also be approved by the department of telecommunications and cable, upon petition of the department. The department of telecommunications and cable shall conduct its review and issue a decision within 90 days of the date the department files its petition, but the request for approval shall be deemed approved if the department of telecommunications and cable does not issue its decision within 90 days. The department, with commission approval, may decrease such percentage in any fiscal year for budgetary reasons, but to a level not less than 18.75 per cent of the total surcharge revenues of the previous fiscal year. In the guidelines administering this grant, the department may include provisions to increase the allocation of funds to primary PSAPs provided under this grant that dispatch police, fire protection and emergency medical services, taking into account if any such services are provided by a private safety department. The department may include in such guidelines provisions to increase the allocation of funds to regional secondary PSAPs that dispatch any combination of regional police, fire protection or emergency medical services.

(3) The wireless state police PSAP grant shall reimburse the wireless state police PSAPs for allowable expenses related to enhanced 911 telecommunicator personnel costs, training and certification of enhanced 911 telecommunicators, and the acquisition and maintenance of heat, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment, computer-aided dispatch systems, console furniture, dispatcher chairs, radio consoles, and fire alarming receipt and alert equipment to be used at the state police PSAPs. The grant shall reimburse such PSAPs for any other equipment and related maintenance associated with providing enhanced 911 service as approved by the department. Funds shall not be used for any equipment or services that are not directly related to the provision of enhanced 911 services or the operation of the state police PSAPs. Four per cent of the total surcharge revenues of the previous fiscal year shall be allocated to this grant, unless such percentage is otherwise increased by the approval of the commission for the purposes of this grant. Any such increase to a level of 6 per cent or more shall also be approved by the department of telecommunications and cable, upon the petition of the department. The department of telecommunications and cable shall conduct its review and issue a decision within 90 days of the date of the filing of the petition, but the request for approval shall be deemed approved if the department of telecommunications and cable does not issue its decision within 90 days. The department, with commission approval, may decrease such percentage in any fiscal year for budgetary reasons, but to a level not less than 2 per cent of the total surcharge revenues of the previous fiscal year. In the guidelines administering this grant, the department may include provisions to increase the allocation to the wireless state police PSAPs to account for such PSAPs handling of wireline 911 calls for municipalities.

(4) The regional PSAP and regional emergency communication center incentive grant shall provide regional PSAPs and regional emergency communication centers with funds in addition to amounts allocated as part of the PSAP and regional emergency communication center support grant to be used for reimbursement of allowable expenses as specified in the support grant for regional PSAPs and regional emergency communication centers in the following amounts: (i) for regional PSAPs serving 2 municipalities, 1/2 of 1 per cent of the total surcharge revenues of the previous fiscal year; (ii) for regional PSAPs serving 3 to 9 municipalities, 1 per cent of the total surcharge revenues of the previous fiscal year; (iii) for regional PSAPs serving 10 or more municipalities, 1/2 per cent of the total surcharge revenues of the previous fiscal year; and (iv) for regional emergency communication centers, 2 per cent of the total surcharge revenues of the previous fiscal year. The percentages in clauses (i) to (iv), inclusive, may be adjusted by the commission to ensure a proper allocation of incentive funds as more regional PSAPs and regional emergency communication centers are added. Any such adjustments that increase the initial total allocation of the incentive grant by 10 per cent or more shall be approved by the department of telecommunications and cable, upon the petition of the department. The department of telecommunications and cable shall conduct its review and issue a decision within 90 days of the date of the filing of the petition, but the request for approval shall be deemed approved if the department of telecommunications and cable does not issue its decision within such 90 days.

(5) The regional and regional secondary PSAP and regional emergency communication center development grant shall support the development and startup of regional and regional secondary PSAPs and regional emergency communication centers, including the expansion or upgrade of existing regional and regional secondary PSAPs, to maximize effective emergency 911 and dispatch services as well as regional interoperability. The eligibility for criteria, amount and allocation of funding shall be contained in guidelines established by the department, with commission approval. The grant shall reimburse allowable expenses related to such development and startup, or expansion or upgrade. Any subsequent adjustments that increase the initial funding allocated to this grant by 10 per cent or more shall be approved by the department of telecommunications and cable, upon the petition of the department. The department of telecommunications and cable shall conduct its review and issue a decision within 90 days of the date of the filing of the petition, but the request for approval shall be deemed approved if the department of telecommunications and cable does not issue its decision within 90 days.

(j) The department shall file a written annual report with the governor and shall file a copy thereof with the state secretary, the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate who shall forward such report to the joint committee on public safety and homeland security and the house and senate ways and means committees. The department shall review and monitor the expenditures incurred under the grant programs established in this section to ensure compliance with grant guidelines. The department shall include a reporting of grant expenditures by municipality in the written annual report. Not later than June 30, every 3 years, the department shall prepare a report documenting the expenditures of each recipient of funds from surcharge revenues to ensure compliance with applicable statutes and regulations.

(k) The department may enter into contracts and agreements with, and accept gifts, grants, contributions and bequests of funds from, any department, agency or subdivision of federal, state, county or municipal government and any individual, foundation, corporation, association or public authority for the purpose of providing or receiving services, facilities or staff assistance in connection with its work. Such funds shall be deposited with the state treasurer and credited to the Enhanced 911 Fund.

(l) No provision of this section shall be construed or interpreted to alter the regulation of providers of telecommunications services under chapter 159.

(m) The department shall work with the Massachusetts office on disability, the Massachusetts commission for the deaf and hard of hearing, the disability community and with municipalities to ensure that communication services providers are aware of the availability and use of adaptive technology, and to ensure that enhanced 911 service is accessible to people with disabilities.

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