(Senate - December 08, 2004)

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[Page S12083]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                        LIFESAVING E-911 SERVICE

  Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, I wish to engage the Senator from Montana 
in a brief colloquy for a point of clarification on the bill,
  First, I wish to congratulate the Senator and others who worked 
tirelessly on this bill. This bill provides critical assistance to 
State and local governments to help them reach the goals and standards 
set by Congress and the FCC for bringing lifesaving E-911 service to 
all Americans. I especially commend the bill's authors for providing 
much needed financial assistance in the form of grants for training, 
equipment and other needs in providing and advancing E-911 service.
  I am very proud of my home State's E-911 leaders. They, along with 
the wireless industry, have helped make Tennessee one of the Nation's 
leaders in wireless E-911 implementation. I am informed that to date 
all but one of our 95 counties are Phase II E-911 ready, with the goal 
of reaching 100 percent by the end of this year. Since 1998, our State 
has committed itself to bringing E-911 service to all its citizens, 
rural and urban, from Memphis to Mountain City.
  However, much work remains to be done. Our State is re-writing its 
requirements for 911 dispatchers and their training. We currently have 
no formal training program or academy. In spite of all of Tennessee's 
accomplishments, financial challenges continue to grow.
  I am concerned that the Federal agency administering the bill's grant 
program will not give equal funding and eligibility consideration to 
States and localities that have achieved E-911 service, thus penalizing 
States such as Tennessee and others for their accomplishments. Would 
such an outcome be the intent of the bill's authors?
  Mr. BURNS. I thank the Senator from Tennessee for his question and 
commend his State for its leadership on E-911 issues. It is not our 
intent to give any less priority in grant eligibility and funding to 
States like Tennessee that have made substantial progress in wireless 
E-911 deployment. We recognize that once a State or local government 
achieves E-911 service, other challenges and needs exist such as those 
pointed out by the Senator. So that was not our intent in the crafting 
of the ``grants'' provision.
  Mr. FRIST. I thank the Senator for that clarification and commend his 
leadership on this very important legislation.
  Mr. FRIST. I ask unanimous consent that the bill be read a third time 
and passed, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table, and that 
any statements relating to the bill be printed in the Record.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The bill (H.R. 5419) was read the third time and passed.