(May 05, 2015)
State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, D-Phila., today called on his colleagues in the Senate to make significant changes to legislation recently passed from the House that would update the 911 emergency communication law.
House Bill 911, which passed the House Monday 134-59, would increase 911 surcharges on monthly phone bills to fund county call centers across the commonwealth and force municipalities to join county or regional call centers. Thomas said he has concerns about the legislation because it does not reflect the needs of Philadelphia.
"Philadelphia has the largest, and most efficient 911 call center in the state. It handles over 3 million calls each and every year," Thomas said. "However, it is also the most underfunded call center in the state and this bill in its current form would only exacerbate that issue."
Thomas said it was unacceptable that the bill's funding formula is not based on the volume of 911 calls received by a call center and the population it serves. Thomas said he was also concerned that the legislation in its current form does not give Philadelphia a standing seat on the 911 Board.
"As the only first-class city in the state, Philadelphia deserves a voice on the 911 Board," Thomas said. "While every municipality has its own needs, the size of the city and its status as a major tourist attraction is unique in the state and should be reflected on the board."
Thomas said he also believed a five-year sunset date would greatly improve the le Read more