This legislation provides for a framework of moving Georgia's E911 systems towards Next Generation 911 Systems (Next-Gen E911). Such Next-Gen E911 would expand E911 features and enable the public to transmit digital information to public safety answering points. Effectively, such systems would allow persons to text, email, and reach E911 through a variety of methods, not just telephonically. The legislation would expand the duties and responsibilities of the Georgia Emergency Communications Authority to adminster the deployment of such Next-Gen E911 technologies, to use the state E911 funding to pay obligations incurred for state-wide E911 projects, help public safety answering points pay for software and hardware upgrades, provide validation for systems, create a cybersecurity center, coordinate utilizing GIS data to ensure E911 communications can be pinpointed to specific locations, and other obligations.
The legislation would reduce the percentage of funds retained by the Georgia Department of Revenue from E911 fees from 1 percent down to 0.5 percent while also increasing the E911 fees from one dollar to two dollars. Of the fees collected 16.5 percent of the fees, from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2032 would be dedicated to a new Georgia NG911 Fund which will have a purpose of facilitating the new Next-Gen E911 duties and obligations of the Georgia Emergency Communications Authority. Twenty percent of that 16.5 percent of fees could be designated by an act of the General Assembly to the Peace Officers' Annuity and Benefit Fund of Georgia. The state revenue commissioner would be responsible for preparing an accounting of the funds by February 1st of each year.
Additionally, in addition to current uses of funds, of the funds received by public safety answering points such funds would also be able to be utilized for the actual cost of insurance purchased by the local government to insure against the risks and liability in the operation and maintenance of an E911 system on behalf of the local government or on behalf of employees hired by the local government to operate such a system. Such funds could also be used to lease, purchase, or maintain mobile communications vehicles and equipment to function as a backup E911 system center.
Finally, this legislation would mandate that persons becoming directors of a public safety answering point receive certain training within six months of employment. By January 1, 2022 the Georgia Emergency Communications Authority will also be required to have established annual training for communications officers. This legislation would not become law unless it were to receive the requisite two-thirds' majority vote in both the House and Senate and if the amount of funds dedicated to the Act do not equal or exceed one percent of the previous fiscal year's state revenues subject to appropriations.