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House Passes Three #SubCommTech Bills to Advance Public Safety and FCC Transparency


Bipartisan Bills Build Upon Energy and Commerce Committee’s #RecordOfSuccess

WASHINGTON, DC – Building upon the Energy and Commerce Committee’s bipartisan #RecordOfSuccess, the House of Representatives today passed three bills to boost public safety and increase transparency at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The House approved the following bills:

  • H.R. 4167, Kari’s Law Act of 2015, authored by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), would require that any multi-line telephone system connects directly to 911 when dialed, even in instances where the phone requires the user to dial “9” to get an outside line.

“In the heat of emergency, every person in America deserves the peace of mind to know that on any phone, 9-1-1 means 9-1-1. Period,” said Comunications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). “Let’s support a law that provides certainty and protects emergency callers across the country.”

  • H.R. 3998, Securing Access to Networks in Disasters Act, authored by Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), would create requirements for mobile service providers during emergencies to ensure that consumers have access to networks during disasters, and requires the FCC and GAO to examine the resiliency of networks during these events. In addition, it amends the Stafford Act to ensure all categories of communications service providers may access disaster sites to restore service. 

“More can be done to improve public safety and emergency response after disasters like Superstorm Sandy in 2012, the largest Atlantic hurricane in recorded history, ” said Walden. “This legislation makes a common sense change to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to recognize not only wireline and mobile telephone service but also broadcast radio, broadcast television, cable service, and broadcast satellite service as essential services in these times of emergency. Without question these services are critical to ensuring the safety and well-being of those impacted by disasters.”

  • H.R. 2589, To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require the Federal Communications Commission to publish on its Internet website changes to the rules of the Commission not later than 24 hours after adoption, authored by Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), would require the FCC to publish new rules on the same day that they are adopted.

Walden concluded, “This bill requires the FCC to publish text of the rules voted on within 24 hours of the filing of the last dissenting statements. Improving the process at the FCC so that it operates in an effective and transparent manner holds the FCC accountable and targets their struggle to make its newly adopted rules available to the public in a timely fashion.”

“Our work continues to advance thoughtful solutions that make a difference for folks across the country,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “Two of these bills work to ensure Americans are protected in time of emergency. One seeks to bring much needed transparency to the FCC. Taken together, they are a testament to our ongoing bipartisan record of success.”

Press Release