The Emergency Communications Funding Bill, HB 2449, had its first public hearing yesterday in the House Committee on Veterans and Emergency Preparedness.

Rep. Lynn Findley, of House District 60, said, “This hearing was a great collaborative effort on the part of the League of Oregon Cities, Association of Oregon Counties, Oregon Sheriffs Association, the Chiefs of Police Association, various fire districts and emergency communication agencies, and other local governance. It is my hope that through this coordinated effort, we can move HB 2449 forward and get our public safety answering points the funding they need to provide exceptional emergency services to Oregonians.”

HB 2449 would increase Oregon’s 9-1-1 tax from $0.75 to $1.50 per wireless and wireline telecommunication service, and retail transaction. Oregon currently has the lowest tax rate for 9-1-1 services in comparison to the rest of the country. This fact is significantly impacting Oregon’s rural counties’ ability to provide public safety services. The increase in funding would go towards technology updates for public safety answering points (PSAPs), additional staffing, call back capabilities, and increased Amber Alert services.