FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 13, 2017
Senator Cheryl C. Kagan
Senator Kagan Convenes Hearing on 9-1-1 Funding Sources & Needs
Annapolis, MD: For her inaugural hearing as Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on the Management of Public Funds, Senator Cheryl C. Kagan (D-Gaithersburg & Rockville) will bring together State and county emergency response experts to discuss current 9-1-1 funding and the urgent need for upgrades to a modern, “Next Generation” (NextGen) system. The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, July 18 from 1 to 4pm in the William Amoss Hearing Room on the 4th Floor of the Miller Senate Building and will stream live on the General Assembly’s website.
Among the witnesses are:
Senator Kagan began her work on emergency response systems after two separate incidents when constituents died after 9-1-1 could not be reached. “Potentially preventable deaths like these are heartbreaking and highlight the need for urgent action,” said Kagan. “Once a nationwide leader in 9-1-1, Maryland’s capabilities are now outdated and insufficient.”
Kagan has crisscrossed the state, visiting 9-1-1 centers (PSAP’s) and learning from those centers’ leaders. She sponsored 9-1-1 focused legislation in both 2016 and 2017, including a bill that would have closed a funding loophole and prepared for the implementation of NextGen. Her bill this session was co-sponsored by Finance Chairman Senator “Mac” Middleton and the entire Finance Committee. While an amended version passed the Senate unanimously, time constraints prevented a vote in the House.
“Public safety is one of the fundamental responsibilities of government– and 9-1-1 is the backbone of that system,” said Senator Kagan. “When 9-1-1 fails, people die. With the “Next Generation” of emergency services, call centers will be able to more accurately track caller locations and accept texts, photos, video, and audio recordings. Call-takers will have more information to give to emergency responders as they enter what are often crisis situations, better protecting both first-responders and victims. NextGen will also allow the seamless re-routing of calls from overwhelmed PSAP’s to underutilized ones, ensuring that every call is answered.
Senator Kagan will be joined by House Chair of the Joint Committee on the Management of Public Funds, Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez (D-District 18), along with committee members Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-District 18), Sen. Joanne Benson (D-District 24), Sen. Ed Reilly (R-District 33), and Del. Alonzo Washington (D-District 22).
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