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June 21, 2000     (512) 463-0300

Economic Development Subcommittee On 911 Emergency Communications Held Public Hearing at the Capitol

AUSTIN - The Senate Economic Development Subcommittee on 911 Emergency Communications met for the second time today, Wednesday, June 21, 2000, at the State Capitol. Senator Frank L. Madla of San Antonio chairs the subcommittee; Senators Troy Fraser from Horseshoe Bay and John Whitmire from Houston are members.

This subcommittee has been established to study charge 2 of the Economic Development Committee. Lt. Governor Rick Perry asked the subcommittee to study whether any changes are needed to create a more efficient, cost effective and reliable 911 emergency communications system. This includes the development and implementation of wireless 911. The subcommittee may hold joint hearings with the Committee on Intergovernmental Relations on this charge. Final preparation of the report is the responsibility of the Economic Development Committee.

Subcommittee members heard invited testimony regarding the shared costs and needs of urban and rural areas, and how to coordinate new 911 technology. Representatives from around the state discussed wireless and landline fees, and residential and businesses fees, as well as needed funds to upgrade the systems. Fees can vary across regions but cost no more than 50 cents per month.

Invited testimony was provided by Thomas Ratliff, representing AT&T, James Goerke, Executive Director, and Carey Spence, Deputy Director, both with the Commission on State Emergency Communications; Tom Utter, Assistant City Manager, and Scott Cooley, Attorney, both with the City of Corpus Christi; Joe McComb, Nueces County Commissioner, representing the Coastal Bend Council of Governments; Margo Fraser, County Sheriff of Travis County; Betty Voights, Executive Director of the Capital Area Council of Government; Laverne Hogan, Executive Director of Greater Harris County 911 Emergency Network; and Bill Munn, Executive Director of Tarrant County 911 District.

No public testimony was heard today. The subcommittee will meet again on July 10th, in Dallas.

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