Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)


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03:31:12 PM Start
03:32:10 PM SB215
04:09:41 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
        SB 215-ENHANCED 911:MULTI-LINE TELEPHONE SYSTEMS                                                                    
3:32:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP announced consideration of SB 215.                                                                                 
JORDAN  SHILLING,   staff  to   Senator  Coghill,   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau,  Alaska, said SB  215 was introduced  by the                                                               
Senate Judiciary  Committee. It  relates to  multi-line telephone                                                               
systems  (MLTS) that  are used  in  places like  large hotels  or                                                               
If a  municipality chooses to adopt  the ordinance that is  in SB
215 it  ensures that when  a person-in-need calls 911  that their                                                               
exact physical  location information  travels along with  them to                                                               
the dispatch office so that first responders aren't delayed.                                                                    
MR. SHILLING explained that a  large number of end-users use MLTS                                                               
that  do not  have the  same level  of enhanced  911 capabilities                                                               
that small  businesses and residential phone  systems have, which                                                               
aren't  multi-line telephone  systems. Tragedies  can occur  when                                                               
emergency  callers are  unable to  provide the  specific location                                                               
within a large building or  complex, either because the caller is                                                               
unaware  of his  exact location  or he  is unable  to convey  his                                                               
physical location for whatever reason.                                                                                          
3:34:29 PM                                                                                                                    
He  displayed an  overhead picture  of the  University of  Alaska                                                               
Fairbanks  (UAF) campus  that uses  an  MLTS that  does not  have                                                               
enhanced 911 (E911)  capabilities. So, if a call were  to be made                                                               
on West Ridge up  on a hill on the other side  of campus from the                                                               
third floor,  room 307,  it would appear  to the  dispatch office                                                               
that the  call is  actually being  made from a  mile away  at the                                                               
central phone  system location,  an example  of a  situation this                                                               
bill would hope to ameliorate  if the Fairbanks municipality were                                                               
to  adopt   an  ordinance  requiring  these   systems  have  E911                                                               
MR.  SHILLING summarized  that SB  215  gives municipalities  the                                                               
option by ordinance  to require (by January 1,  2019) future MLTS                                                               
operators  to provide  an  automatic  location information  (ALI)                                                               
record for  every telephone that  is capable of dialing  911. The                                                               
phone system must also allow  callers to call 911 without dialing                                                               
a prefix ahead  of time, as some phone systems  require dialing 9                                                               
to  get out  of the  building and  some existing  MLTS operations                                                               
still require someone to enter  a prefix before dialing 911. This                                                               
bill would, again, allow the  exact physical location information                                                               
to  travel with  the call  and it  would also  require the  phone                                                               
system to not have that prefix issue.                                                                                           
3:36:37 PM                                                                                                                    
He  said  some  municipalities  may not  choose  to  adopt  these                                                               
ordinances, but a provision requires  any MLTS that does not have                                                               
the E911 capabilities  to have signage near  the phone indicating                                                               
the limitations of that phone system.                                                                                           
CHAIR BISHOP asked for a sectional analysis.                                                                                    
3:38:11 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SHILLING explained that SB 215 has two sections:                                                                            
     Section 1, AS 29.35.134    Multi-line telephone systems                                                                    
     -  Says a  municipality  may, by  ordinance, require  a                                                                    
     multi-line  telephone system  (MLTS) that  is installed                                                                    
     or upgraded after  January 1, 2019, to  comply with the                                                                    
     requirements  contained  in   section  2,  and  repeals                                                                    
     ineffective existing MLTS statutes.                                                                                        
     Section 2, AS 29.35.134    Multi-line telephone systems                                                                    
     -  Says an  operator of  an MLTS  phone system  that is                                                                    
     required  by ordinance  to comply  with these  sections                                                                    
     shall ensure  that the system  allows a caller  to call                                                                    
     911  without  dialing a  prefix,  and  that the  system                                                                    
     automatically provides the  dispatching agency with the                                                                    
     exact physical  location of the call.  An MLTS operator                                                                    
     must  comply  with  these requirements  soon  after  an                                                                    
     installation or an upgrade.                                                                                                
     An operator of  an MLTS that is not  required to comply                                                                    
     by ordinance  and that  does not  allow for  direct 911                                                                    
     dialing shall post signage notifying  the public of the                                                                    
     limitations of their phone system.                                                                                         
     Includes definitions for  "multi-line telephone system"                                                                    
     and "multi-line telephone system operator".                                                                                
3:39:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HOFFMAN  asked why a  municipality would not want  to opt                                                               
in. Is there  a detrimental cost, perhaps? On the  other hand, if                                                               
all municipalities opt in, why have the bill?                                                                                   
MR.  SHILLING said  he couldn't  envision all  the reasons  why a                                                               
municipality may  not want to  opt in,  but a cost  is associated                                                               
with having the  system that can range from zero  dollars to much                                                               
higher and is reviewed in an accompanying document.                                                                             
SENATOR HOFFMAN asked  if it "shall" be required  what the fiscal                                                               
note would be.                                                                                                                  
MR. SHILLING  replied right now the  bill has a zero  fiscal note                                                               
even if a  municipality chooses to adopt an  MLTS requirement, so                                                               
he  thought it  would remain  zero if  the "may"  was changed  to                                                               
"shall". Ultimately, the cost is borne by the MLTS operator.                                                                    
SENATOR  HOFFMAN said  this has  been a  nationwide issue  and it                                                               
seems like  they are leaving it  up to all the  municipalities to                                                               
do all  the research and  figure out what  is best for  them, and                                                               
they may not have that expertise.                                                                                               
3:42:54 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GARDNER remarked  that  facilities with  IT staff  could                                                               
program   existing   phones  to   do   what   this  bill   allows                                                               
municipalities  to require  and may  not  have a  cost, but  some                                                               
places  might have  to  hire  somebody to  come  in.  So, if  the                                                               
municipality  passes the  ordinance,  it is  imposing  a cost  on                                                               
private companies and there might  be some pushback. If the state                                                               
requires it, then it is an unfunded state mandate.                                                                              
MR. SHILLING  responded to the extent  that there is a  cost, she                                                               
was right; the  cost is borne by the MLTS  operator. But new MLTS                                                               
phones have  this feature  built in and  native to  the software.                                                               
The  system that  doesn't  require a  prefix  before dialing  911                                                               
mirrors federal legislation and  that President Trump just signed                                                               
a bill  that requires any  new MLTS phone manufacturer  who sells                                                               
phones after the year 2020 not have that prefix problem.                                                                        
SENATOR MACKINNON  wondered at  the status  of state  systems and                                                               
she agreed with  Senator Hoffman that there is  an opportunity to                                                               
consider using  the system  across the state  of Alaska.  But she                                                               
thought there  would be a cost  to small business as  well as the                                                               
3:45:41 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GARDNER said  she was  assured today  that the  existing                                                               
system in  this building could  be compliant. It's just  a matter                                                               
of plugging it in.                                                                                                              
MR. SHILLING said  he had tested the legislature's  system to see                                                               
if it sends along the exact physical location and it does.                                                                      
SENATOR GARDNER said  the bill doesn't require  anyone to upgrade                                                               
their system. It's just if they  do upgrade the system, it has to                                                               
be compliant.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  MACKINNON  said  she  had looked  at  the  statute,  and                                                               
because  HB 215  would eliminate  or  reorganize quite  a bit  of                                                               
language,  she  wondered  if  Mr. Shilling  could  tell  her  the                                                               
specific differences in the compliance  mechanism of this version                                                               
of SB 215 than in the last version.                                                                                             
MR. SHILLING said the reason  the existing statute is ineffective                                                               
is because  it leaves a  lot of  the specifics to  the Regulatory                                                               
Commission of Alaska  (RCA) to promulgate in  regulation. It also                                                               
requires the  RCA to become  involved in some  dispute resolution                                                               
with respect to  the requirement that these  phone systems comply                                                               
with "general accepted industry standards."                                                                                     
He explained  that according  to the  Department of  Law, because                                                               
the   RCA  didn't   have  the   authority  to   promulgate  those                                                               
regulations  and  to  be  involved   in  the  dispute  resolution                                                               
process,  the  bill's sponsors  have  tried  to take  what  would                                                               
otherwise  be  accomplished in  regulation  and  specify that  in                                                               
statute,  itself, and  take RCA  out of  the equation,  which has                                                               
been problematic  and making these  statutes ineffective  for the                                                               
last 13 years.                                                                                                                  
3:48:38 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MACKINNON said  she was looking for the  reference to the                                                               
MR. SHILLING said it was on page 2, lines 3-5, of the bill.                                                                     
DAVID GIBBS, Emergency Operations  Director, Fairbanks North Star                                                               
Borough,  supported SB  215.  He said  the  borough Assembly  has                                                               
identified requiring (enhanced)  E911 information for multi-lined                                                               
telephones as one of their  legislative priorities. He said staff                                                               
had prepared  an excellent FAQ  document, which is in  the bill's                                                               
He  said  MLTS  are  used  in  large  buildings,  complexes,  and                                                               
campuses  which may  have multiple  facilities  sharing a  common                                                               
telephone switch. In his community,  UAF hotels, both borough and                                                               
city governments, big box stores, and schools use MLTS.                                                                         
MR. GIBBS  explained the  difference between  wire line  E911 and                                                               
MLTS  911.  Currently local  exchange  carriers  are required  to                                                               
provide  and  maintain  customer information,  which  includes  a                                                               
telephone number and the address  where the telephone is located.                                                               
They  are  required  to  provide  that  information  to  the  911                                                               
authority for  the purposes of assisting  in emergency responses.                                                               
The local exchange carriers process  service orders are processed                                                               
daily,   and  the   location   information   system  is   updated                                                               
automatically. Currently,  MLTS operators have no  requirement to                                                               
provide location  information or even  keep it current.  So, what                                                               
this bill does is extend the E911 requirement to MLTS.                                                                          
3:52:37 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  GIBBS  explained  that the  problem  with  facilities  using                                                               
multi-line telephone  systems is that  presently when a  911 call                                                               
is   placed,  the   address  that   is  presented   to  the   911                                                               
telecommunicator  is the  location  of the  MLTS  switch and  not                                                               
necessarily where  the device from  which the call  was initiated                                                               
and located.                                                                                                                    
As an  example, the  UAF has hundreds  of thousands  of telephone                                                               
numbers and the  associated addresses that resolve  to the multi-                                                               
line  switch  location at  1054  University  Avenue. Also,  as  a                                                               
matter  of interest,  telephones  located at  Poker Flats  Rocket                                                               
Facility about 30 miles away have  the same address. So, there is                                                               
a  huge  discrepancy in  terms  of  the  actual location  of  the                                                               
caller.  He  said  there  are   multiple  examples  of  emergency                                                               
responders   being  delayed   because   responders  were   either                                                               
dispatched to  the wrong building  or required to search  a whole                                                               
floor or building  complex in an attempt to locate  a caller that                                                               
was  requesting emergency  services.  Perhaps the  customer of  a                                                               
large business  complex in a large  is unable to speak  or unable                                                               
to   provide   the    telecommunicator   with   proper   location                                                               
information, which can seriously delay emergency responders.                                                                    
3:54:46 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.   GIBBS  also   said  the   very  simple   reason  that   all                                                               
municipalities may not opt in  to develop an ordinance to require                                                               
an MLTS 911  is that not all communities  are currently providing                                                               
E911 service,  so they may not  have the facility to  receive the                                                               
information that might be delivered.                                                                                            
SENATOR MACKINNON said that they  have heard that one obstacle in                                                               
the way  of implementing the MLTS  is the notion that  the RCA is                                                               
somehow  a controlling  entity and  asked him  to speak  to that.                                                               
When she reads AS 29.35.134, it  says, "An MLTS operator is to be                                                               
compliant with  this section  when using  MLTS phone  system with                                                               
E911  generally accepted  industry  standards as  defined by  the                                                               
RCA." It doesn't say they are  monitoring it; it says whatever is                                                               
adopted just needs to comply.  Have regulations been adopted that                                                               
make RCA in charge of this portion of Alaska state statute?                                                                     
3:57:49 PM                                                                                                                    
JILL  DOLAN, North  Star Borough  Attorney, Fairbanks  North Star                                                               
Borough,  explained  in  2005, after  the  MLTS  legislation  was                                                               
enacted, the RCA  opened a docket. The intention was  for them to                                                               
adopt regulations in  order to implement this  section. Some time                                                               
after that, the  Department of Law issued an  opinion saying that                                                               
the RCA didn't have the authority to do that.                                                                                   
The problem is two-fold: one is  that the E911 system is operated                                                               
in Alaska at the  local level as a 911 service  area, and the RCA                                                               
typically regulates service providers  and standards for them and                                                               
has enforcement  authority over  them, as  certificated entities.                                                               
She didn't  have a copy of  that opinion, but she  suspected that                                                               
the reason was  because the MLTS operator is  not synonymous with                                                               
a service provider that the RCA would ordinarily regulate.                                                                      
This  legislation  is  drafted  to  help  cure  that  problem  by                                                               
proposing statutorily-driven  standards, but a  municipality must                                                               
opt  in by  adopting the  ordinance in  order to  enact them.  It                                                               
would be up  to the municipality to enforce  the standards, which                                                               
wouldn't be through  the RCA. Either there would be  some type of                                                               
requirement in  code such as  a citation  or other type  of minor                                                               
offense-type  process  or they  could  seek  assistance from  the                                                               
State Superior  Court in getting  some type of an  injunction for                                                               
SENATOR MACKINNON said  the reason she is  asking these questions                                                               
is because  of the zero fiscal  note, which the RCA  didn't adopt                                                               
and  because   the  Department  of  Law   issued  their  opinion.                                                               
Currently  in  Alaska,  local  law   and  local  regulations  are                                                               
covering E911 services, except that  now the state is being asked                                                               
to  actually take  local guidance  on E911  or federal  guidance,                                                               
place  it  into  law,  and  then have  no  regulation.  Was  that                                                               
correct? So, each  city that passes a law in  support of E911 and                                                               
this  compliance  for  MLTS  may  have  inconsistent  regulations                                                               
across jurisdictions.                                                                                                           
MS.  DOLAN  responded  that  the intent  is  to  have  consistent                                                               
regulations throughout the state, which  is why the standards are                                                               
statutorily  driven.   The  flexibility  is  whether   or  not  a                                                               
municipality participates in those  standards. She clarified that                                                               
they only  have the authority to  do an E911 system  at the local                                                               
level  because that  is the  structure Alaska  has set  up. Local                                                               
governments, through Title 29, have  the authority to create E911                                                               
service areas  and to  require service  providers to  comply with                                                               
their  standards. Some  states do  it differently:  for instance,                                                               
having  state 911  systems.  Alaska doesn't  do  that, but  there                                                               
would be some level of  consistency because the standards will be                                                               
in law. It  has a zero fiscal  impact to the state  because it is                                                               
not charged with actually operating  the E911 system or enforcing                                                               
the standards that will be adopted at the local level.                                                                          
4:02:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MACKINNON said  she would  leave it  at that  but stated                                                               
that local  communities will  adopt some  kind of  standards that                                                               
are inconsistent  with each other  and businesses may or  may not                                                               
help  in  developing  those regulations  to  comply  with  Alaska                                                               
4:03:03 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BISHOP  referenced page 4,  line 4, subsection (d)  of SB
215 and asked for an example of where that language would apply.                                                                
MR.  SHILLING  answered  that subsection  (d)  requires  that  an                                                               
operator of an  MLTS that is not required by  ordinance to comply                                                               
with  all  these requirements  shall,  at  a minimum,  have  some                                                               
signage indicating the  limitations of the phone  with respect to                                                               
dialing 911. The signage language in  the bill is specific and is                                                               
an example  of something that  otherwise might be  promulgated in                                                               
regulation.  But  the  bill  is  trying  to  provide  consistency                                                               
statewide. It  says: "The  notice shall  state that  911 services                                                               
cannot be  accessed by  dialing 911  directly (prefix  issue) and                                                               
indicate  how  a  caller  may access  911  services  through  the                                                               
telephone. The sign  must be printed in contrasting  colors and a                                                               
bold font not smaller than 16 points."                                                                                          
SENATOR BISHOP  asked him to stop  there, and asked Ms.  Dolan if                                                               
this section  is Americans with Disabilities  Act (ADA) compliant                                                               
and if the signage is required to be in Braille, as well.                                                                       
MS.  DOLAN replied  that she  hadn't  looked at  that issue.  She                                                               
added that  other jurisdictions had enacted  similar legislation.                                                               
It is a good consideration to which she didn't know the answer.                                                                 
MR. SHILLING said he would work with Ms. Dolan on language.                                                                     
4:05:45 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MACKINNON  said she wondered about  costs associated with                                                               
ADA compliance and asked what the size  of the sign has to be and                                                               
commented that providing Braille would cost more.                                                                               
MR. SHILLING  responded that the size  of the sign is  left up to                                                               
the operator of the MLTS.                                                                                                       
4:07:15 PM                                                                                                                    
KATHIE  WASSERMAN, Executive  Director,  Alaska Municipal  League                                                               
(AML), Juneau, Alaska,  supported SB 215. It is a  good tool that                                                               
municipalities should be  able to take advantage of  if they have                                                               
the technology to do so.                                                                                                        
MS.  WASSERMAN said  about half  of  Alaska municipalities  don't                                                               
have regular 911  much less E911. Earlier, this bill  was only an                                                               
opt  out situation,  and her  take was  why would  Anaktuvuk Pass                                                               
have to  go through all the  trouble, money, time, and  effort to                                                               
opt  out  of  something  that   wasn't  even  available  to  them                                                               
technologically.  Then it  became an  opt in,  which seems  a lot                                                               
SENATOR  BISHOP,  finding  no  further  comments,  closed  public                                                               
testimony on SB 215 and held the bill in committee.                                                                             

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 215 - Letter of Support - Alaska Fire Chiefs Association.pdf SCRA 3/20/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 215
SB 215 - Letter of Support - Fairbanks North Star Borough.pdf SCRA 3/20/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 215
SB 215 - Sectional Summary (ver. D).pdf SCRA 3/20/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 215
SB 215 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SCRA 3/20/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 215
SB 215 - Supporting Document - FAQs.pdf SCRA 3/20/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 215
SB 215 - Supporting Document - UAF Example.pdf SCRA 3/20/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 215