Senator Watson and Representative Workman Applaud Enactment of Legislation to Create Emergency Communications District
District Will Provide Better 9-1-1 Services to Communities in the Capital Area
AUSTIN – State Senator Kirk Watson and State Representative Paul Workman today announced the enactment of legislation that will help keep Central Texans safe by designating a 10-county regional entity as an Emergency Communications District.
"This bill will enable the region to coordinate various emergency communication programs more effectively and efficiently,” Senator Watson said. “This will better serve taxpayers and help ensure that emergency services funds are actually used as promised.”
The local governments of the Capital Area Council of Governments (or CAPCOG) have been working together to design a “Next Generation” 9-1-1 system, which will allow the public to transmit text, image, and video messages to Public Service Answering Points. By establishing the Emergency Communications District, county and city governments can continue to work together to manage the implementation of the Next Generation system.
"Texas has 24 COGs and 50 Emergency Communications Districts," stated Representative Workman. "This legislation is unique because this is the first time a local COG has been designated as an Emergency Communications District."
Senator Watson and Representative Workman introduced S.B. 628 and H.B. 1124 to create the new district. S.B. 628 was finally passed by the House of Representatives on May 21, 2013, after having already passed the Senate earlier that month.
This legislation allows the CAPCOG Emergency Communications District to receive 100% of the service fees it collects through cell phone and landline providers.
CAPCOG Chair and Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw said, "This bill reinforces a regional approach managed by governments that are closest to the citizens to ensure their 9-1-1 service fees are reinvested in the best emergency communications systems available."
S.B. 628 takes effect September 1, 2013.