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115th Congress}                                            { Report
                                 SENATE
  2d Session  }                                            { 115-213

======================================================================
                                
            NATIONAL SUICIDE HOTLINE IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2017

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 OF THE

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   ON

                                S. 1015

[GRAPHIC NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


                 March 13, 2018.--Ordered to be printed
       
       
                               __________
                                   
                                   
                    U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE                    
                             WASHINGTON : 2018      
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                     one hundred fifteenth congress
                             second session

                   JOHN THUNE, South Dakota, Chairman
 ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi         BILL NELSON, Florida
 ROY BLUNT, Missouri                  MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
 TED CRUZ, Texas                      AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota
 DEB FISCHER, Nebraska                RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, Connecticut
 JERRY MORAN, Kansas                  BRIAN SCHATZ, Hawaii
 DAN SULLIVAN, Alaska                 EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts
 DEAN HELLER, Nevada                  TOM UDALL, New Mexico
 JAMES M. INHOFE, Oklahoma            GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
 MIKE LEE, Utah                       TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin
 RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin               TAMMY DUCKWORTH, Illinois
 SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West           MARGARETWOODHASSAN,NewHampshire
    Virginia
 CORY GARDNER, Colorado               CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO, Nevada
 TODD C. YOUNG, Indiana               JON TESTER, Montana
                       Nick Rossi, Staff Director
                 Adrian Arnakis, Deputy Staff Director
                    Jason Van Beek, General Counsel
                 Kim Lipsky, Democratic Staff Director
           Christopher Day, Democratic Deputy Staff Director


						   
115th Congress}                                            { Report
                                 SENATE
  2d Session  }                                            { 115-213

======================================================================
 
            NATIONAL SUICIDE HOTLINE IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2017

                                _______
                                

                 March 13, 2018.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Thune, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1015]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 1015) to require the Federal 
Communications Commission to study the feasibility of 
designating a simple, easy-to-remember dialing code to be used 
for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis 
hotline system, having considered the same, reports favorably 
thereon with an amendment (in the nature of a substitute) and 
recommends that the bill (as amended) do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    S. 1015 would determine if implementing a nationwide, 
dedicated, 3-digit dialing code for suicide prevention and 
mental health (e.g. ``9-1-1'' and ``4-1-1'') would be 
beneficial in preventing suicides. It would require the Federal 
Communications Commission (FCC), in consultation with the 
Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use at the 
Department of Health and Human Services (Assistant Secretary) 
and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (Secretary), to conduct a 
study to explore the effects of using a 3-digit dialing code, 
similar to 9-1-1 or 4-1-1, for a national suicide prevention 
and mental health crisis line. It also would examine the 
effectiveness of the current National Suicide Prevention 
Lifeline (NSPL), including how well it addresses the needs of 
veterans.

                          Background and Needs

    According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 
suicide rates in the United States have surged to their highest 
levels in nearly 30 years.\1\ The overall suicide rate rose by 
24 percent from 1999 to 2014.\2\ The NSPL (1-800-273-TALK 
(8255)), launched by the Center for Mental Health Services of 
the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 
(SAMHSA), is a network of over 160 crisis centers that provides 
a toll-free hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to anyone 
experiencing a mental health or suicidal emergency or 
crisis.\3\
    Some have suggested that the creation of an easy-to-
remember 3-digit dialing code for a national suicide prevention 
and mental health crisis line would make it easier for people 
contemplating suicide or suffering from other mental health 
issues to seek out help. They have pointed to the success of 
the 9-1-1 system as precedent for this proposal. In 1967, the 
President's ``Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration 
of Justice'' recommended the creation of a single telephone 
number that could be used nationwide for reporting 
emergencies.\4\
    In 1968, the FCC agreed upon the number 9-1-1, one of eight 
N11 dialing codes, as a simple, easy-to-remember telephone 
number to be the dedicated number for reporting emergencies. 9-
1-1 quickly became the national emergency number for 
individuals in the United States to access police, fire, and 
ambulance services.\5\
    Advocates argued, based on the success of the 9-1-1 
nationwide emergency number, that a study by the FCC regarding 
the use of a simple, easy-to-remember dedicated 3-digit dialing 
code could start the process toward designation of such a code 
for suicide prevention and mental health issues.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\National Center for Health Statistics, ``Increase in Suicide in 
the United States 1999-2014,'' at https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/
databriefs/db241.htm.
    \2\Ibid.
    \3\Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, 
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at https://
suicidepreventionlifeline.org/about/.
    \4\The National Emergency Number Association (NENA): ``The 9-1-1 
Association, 9-1-1 Origin & History,'' at https://www.nena.org/
?page=911overviewfacts.
    \5\Ibid.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                          Legislative History

    S. 1015 was introduced on May 3, 2017, by Senators Hatch 
(for himself and Senator Donnelly) and is also cosponsored by 
Senators Sullivan, Heller, Baldwin, Schatz, Shaheen, and Udall.
    On October 4, 2017, the Committee met in open Executive 
Session and, by a voice vote, ordered S. 1015 reported 
favorably with an amendment (in the nature of a substitute). A 
substitute amendment offered by Senator Sullivan was adopted by 
the Committee to clarify certain reporting requirements under 
the bill.
    Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT) introduced a companion 
bill in the House of Representatives (H.R. 2345) on May 3, 
2017. That measure has been referred to the Committee on Energy 
and Commerce's Subcommittee on Communications and Technology of 
the House of Representatives. H.R. 2345 is identical to S. 1015 
as introduced and shares bipartisan support.

                            Estimated Costs

    In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office:

S. 1015--National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2017

    S. 1015 would require the Federal Communications Commission 
(FCC) to coordinate with the Department of Veterans Affairs 
(VA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services 
Administration (SAMHSA) within the Department of Health and 
Human Services to study and report on the feasibility of 
designating a N11 dialing code as a national suicide prevention 
and mental health crises hotline system.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\The term N11 dialing code refers to an abbreviated dialing code 
consisting of three digits, of which the first may be any digit other 
than one or zero and each of the last two digits be one.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Under the act, VA and SAMHSA would each be required to 
complete a separate study and analysis that would be used by 
the FCC to develop a comprehensive study and report that 
includes information from those two studies. The FCC would be 
required to provide additional analysis and recommendations on 
the logistics and costs to develop such a dialing code if the 
other agencies recommend that a dialing code be used.
    Based on an analysis of information from the affected 
agencies, CBO estimates that implementing the provisions of S. 
1015 would cost less than $500,000 over the 2018-2022 period 
for the agencies to coordinate and develop the analyses and 
reports required under the act; that spending would be subject 
to the availability of appropriated funds.
    Enacting S. 1015 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    CBO estimates that enacting S. 1015 would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    S. 1015 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Stephen Rabent. 
The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

    In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       number of persons covered

    The bill would not authorize any new regulations and, thus, 
would not subject any individuals or businesses to new 
regulations.

                            economic impact

    The bill would not have an adverse economic impact on the 
Nation.

                                privacy

    The bill would not have any adverse impact on the personal 
privacy of individuals.

                               paperwork

    The legislation would not increase paperwork requirements 
for private individuals or businesses. The bill would require 
three reports from the Federal Government. The first report 
would be submitted by the Assistant Secretary not later than 
180 days after the date of enactment. The second report would 
be submitted by the Secretary to the FCC not later than 180 
days after the date of enactment. The third report would be 
submitted by the FCC, in coordination with the Assistant 
Secretary and the Secretary, on the primary study not later 
than 1 year after the date of enactment.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

    In compliance with paragraph 4(b) of rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides that no 
provisions contained in the bill, as reported, meet the 
definition of congressionally directed spending items under the 
rule.


                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title.

    This section would provide that the Act may be cited as the 
``National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2017.''

Section 2. Definitions.

    This section would define ``Commission'' as the FCC; a 
``covered dialing code'' as a simple, easy-to-remember, 3-digit 
dialing code; and ``N11 dialing codes'' as a 3-digit dialing 
code where the first digit is any digit other than ``1'' or 
``0'' and the last 2 digits are ``1s''.

Section 3. Studies and reports.

    Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment, the FCC, 
in coordination with the Assistant Secretary and the Secretary, 
would be required to conduct a study that would examine the 
following: the feasibility of designating a N11 or other 
covered dialing code to be used for a national suicide 
prevention and mental health crisis hotline system; and the 
effectiveness of the NSPL, including how well it addresses the 
needs of veterans. As part of the study, the FCC would be 
required to consider each of the N11 dialing codes and other 
covered dialing codes, and consult with the North American 
Numbering Council.
    To assist the FCC in studying the feasibility and 
effectiveness of creating a N11 or other covered dialing code 
for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis 
hotline system, this section would direct the following: the 
Assistant Secretary to provide the FCC with a report examining 
the impact of an N11 or other covered dialing code on suicide 
prevention, as well as the effectiveness of the NSPL; and the 
Secretary to provide the FCC with a report on how well the NSPL 
and the Veterans Crisis Line are working to address the needs 
of veterans. Both reports would be due no later than 180 days 
after the date of enactment.
    The section would direct the FCC to submit a report on its 
study to the appropriate committees of Congress not later than 
1 year after the date of enactment. That report would include a 
recommendation regarding whether a particular N11 or other 
covered dialing code should be used for a national suicide 
prevention and mental health crisis hotline system. If the FCC 
does recommend the use of a particular N11 or other covered 
dialing code, the report would be required to do the following: 
outline the logistics of designating that code; estimate the 
costs associated with designating that code; provide 
recommendations for designating that code; provide a cost-
benefit analysis comparing that code with the NSPL; and make 
other recommendations, as appropriate, for improving the NSPL.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee states that the 
bill as reported would make no change to existing law.

                                  [all]