Senator Vulakovich Opening Remarks
With the end of the Emergency Telephone Act looming at the end of June, the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee today (February 18) held a public hearing to gather testimony on the “True Costs of E-911” in Pennsylvania, according to Senator Randy Vulakovich, Committee Chairman.
Substantial changes in technology and society since the original enactment of the law in 1996 have increased equipment and personnel costs for county dispatch centers, while whittling away at the funding sources that were intended to support those operations, according to state and county officials.
Testifiers included representatives from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Legislative Budget & Finance Committee, County Commissioners Association of PA, and a panel consisting of officials from the Allegheny, Philadelphia, Tioga, and Westmoreland County E-911 centers.
“This committee certainly recognizes the costs of the service. Equipment must be constantly upgraded and personnel trained and compensated. We also know the value of the service in terms of public safety,” said Senator Vulakovich, a former municipal police officer. “We were also presented with several options as to how to ease the increasing financial burden being placed on counties across the Commonwealth. We will take this information into consideration over the coming weeks and months as we work toward reauthorization of E-911.”
The committee also considered and approved House Bill 152, a measure amending the Emergency and Law Enforcement Personnel Death Benefit Act by extending the filing period for the death benefit from 90 days to three years. That bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
Contact: Nate Silcox (717) 787-6538
Click here for the committee’s agenda and written testimony.