9-1-1 Goes to Washington

Each year at 9-1-1 Goes to Washington NENA: The 9-1-1 Association outlines its policy priorities to Public Safety professionals who then carry the message to their elected officials on Capitol Hill. This year there is only one policy priority:

Accelerate the transition to Next Generation 9-1-1 with a major injection of federal capital to offset one-time costs for state and local 9-1-1 systems.

As NENA's members took to the Hill, Congress responded. On March 1st, Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) circulated a discussion draft of The Next Generation 9-1-1 Act of 2017, which would make the transition to NG9-1-1 a national priority.

Brian Fontes, NENA's CEO said, "The text of this draft closely tracks NENA's recommendations for an NG9-1-1 legal framework, first filed with the FCC almost five years ago. We are grateful to Senators Nelson and Klobuchar for listening to the voice of our members."

"We must all dive into this effort head first and educate our citizens and elected officials on how critical it is that we fund the NG9-1-1 transition now, said Brian. "9-1-1 professionals must clearly demonstrate a groundswell of support for this legislation to ensure that 9-1-1 is not left behind."

Dana Wahlberg, 9-1-1 Program Manager for Minnesota, who is in the process of managing the migration to NG9-1-1 for 104 PSAPs in the state said, "This draft legislation is vital. It will deliver interoperability on a far larger scale than we have today. Plus, it provides a tremendous opportunity for states who have felt stranded by inadequate funding to become actively engaged in NG9-1-1 and modernize their PSAPs."

Trey Forgety, the Director of Government Affairs at NENA reminds us just how important transition funding is: "Consumers have already made the switch to IP-based communications; major carriers have already begun to sunset the analog telephone network; and, soon, FirstNet will provide an all-IP LTE network for field responders. But neither of these transitions can reach their potential if we don't transition our 9-1-1 systems at the same time. Each passing day without NG9-1-1 will cost our society more in lives lost and property destroyed."

To learn more about how you can bring the message to your community and ensure the safety of your citizens, use the resources below, found at the NENA Website to educate your elected officials:

  • A flyer you can fill-out and send to your Representative and Senators.
  • Talking points to help you prepare for meetings and phone calls with congressional staff and members of Congress so you are crisp and clear when you deliver the message.
  • The complete 9-1-1 Goes to Washington briefing book, with details and insider tips - a key resource when you engage with members of Congress and their staff both in D.C. and in your district.
  • A Caucus Sign-Up Form to encourage your representative and senators to join the Congressional NG9-1-1 Caucus and help advance legislation.

Click here to view an overview of the Next Generation 9-1-1 Act of 2017 and here to read the full draft legislation.