(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) praised Governor Bill Haslam for signing his “Next Generation 911” Act into law today. The landmark legislation establishes a stable, reliable, future-proof funding source for maintaining and improving the state’s emergency communications network services.
“This legislation reflects a collaborative effort among the legislature, local emergency communication districts, the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board, public safety officials and telecommunications carriers,” said Norris following a ceremonial bill signing in Nashville today.
The “911 Funding Modernization and IP Transition Act of 2014” makes Tennessee one of the few states in the nation to have addressed changes in telecommunications technology and consumer choice by restructuring revenues and implementing responsibility for replacing the existing analog network with advanced internet protocol.
“Leaders like Senator Norris took on the tough task of designing a 911 funding system that balances multiple factors, like changing technology and consumer trends,” said AT&T Tennessee State President Joelle Phillips. “Senator Norris and the Tennessee legislature should be commended for their leadership in ‘future proofing’ Tennessee’s system for funding 911. Fiscal responsibility means living within our means today and planning to ensure we can do so tomorrow as well.”
Norris has been pushing for better emergency preparedness/communications since he was Chairman of the Senate Transportation and Safety Committee and launched a study of Tennessee’s emergency preparedness plan in 2006.
“This is going to be a major move forward in 911 technology,” added Jimmy Turnbow, a member of the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board. “It levels the playing field in the way 911 is funded in the state of Tennessee.”
“This bill, together with Public Chapter 108 also passed this year, will not only advance 911 but open interoperable communications for local law enforcement on the state-wide system,” said Norris.