Press Release: Tuesday Hearing on 9-1-1 Funding

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 13, 2017           

Senator Cheryl C. Kagan
District 17 (Rockville & Gaithersburg)

Senator Kagan Convenes Hearing on 9-1-1 Funding Sources & Needs
Experts discuss the affordability of critical “Next Generation” technology

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:

  • Kevin Kinnally – Policy Associate with the Maryland Association of Counties
  • Charlynn Flaherty – Director of Public Safety Communications for Prince George’s County
  • Ross Coates – Public Safety Manager for the Harford Department of Emergency Services
  • Scott Roper – Director of the Emergency Number Systems Board (ENSB)
  • Anthony Myers – ENSB Board Chair & Executive Director of the Public Service Commission
  • Jack Markey – ENSB Board Member & Director of Emergency Management for Frederick County
  • Steve Souder – ENSB Board Member & Former Director of Public Safety Communications for Fairfax County, VA

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 “Once a nationwide leader in 9-1-1, Maryland’s capabilities are now outdated and insufficient.”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).

* * * * 
About Senator Cheryl C. Kagan: Senator Kagan (D) represents District 17, Rockville and Gaithersburg, in the Maryland General Assembly. First elected in 1994 to the House of Delegates, Kagan served two terms before stepping down to work in the non-profit sector. In 2014, Kagan returned to elected office, winning her first term to the Maryland State Senate. Kagan serves on the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, Joint Audit Committee, and Joint Committee on Federal Relations and is the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on the Management of Public Funds.