Section 365.171, Florida Statutes 2003
365.171 Emergency telephone number "911."--
(1) SHORT TITLE.--This section shall be known and cited as the "Florida Emergency Telephone Act."
(2) LEGISLATIVE INTENT.--It is the intent of the Legislature to establish and implement a cohesive statewide emergency telephone number "911" plan which will provide citizens with rapid direct access to public safety agencies by dialing the telephone number "911" with the objective of reducing the response time to situations requiring law enforcement, fire, medical, rescue, and other emergency services.
(3) DEFINITIONS.--As used in this section:
(a) "Office" means the State Technology Office.
(b) "Local government" means any city, county, or political subdivision of the state and its agencies.
(c) "Public agency" means the state and any city, county, city and county, municipal corporation, chartered organization, public district, or public authority located in whole or in part within this state which provides, or has authority to provide, firefighting, law enforcement, ambulance, medical, or other emergency services.
(d) "Public safety agency" means a functional division of a public agency which provides firefighting, law enforcement, medical, or other emergency services.
(4) STATE PLAN.--The office shall develop a statewide emergency telephone number "911" system plan. The plan shall provide for:
(a) The establishment of the public agency emergency telephone communications requirements for each entity of local government in the state.
(b) A system to meet specific local government requirements. Such system shall include law enforcement, firefighting, and emergency medical services and may include other emergency services such as poison control, suicide prevention, and emergency management services.
(c) Identification of the mutual aid agreements necessary to obtain an effective "911" system.
(d) A funding provision which shall identify the cost necessary to implement the "911" system.
(e) A firm implementation schedule which shall include the installation of the "911" system in a local community within 24 months after the designated agency of the local government gives a firm order to the telephone utility for a "911" system.
The office shall be responsible for the implementation and coordination of such plan. The office shall adopt any necessary rules and schedules related to public agencies for implementing and coordinating such plan, pursuant to chapter 120. The public agency designated in the plan shall order such system within 6 months after publication date of the plan if the public agency is in receipt of funds appropriated by the Legislature for the implementation and maintenance of the "911" system. Any jurisdiction which has utilized local funding as of July 1, 1976, to begin the implementation of the state plan as set forth in this section shall be eligible for at least a partial reimbursement of its direct cost when, and if, state funds are available for such reimbursement.
(5) SYSTEM DIRECTOR.--The director of the office or his or her designee is designated as the director of the statewide emergency telephone number "911" system and, for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this section, is authorized to coordinate the activities of the system with state, county, local, and private agencies. The director is authorized to employ not less than five persons, three of whom will be at the professional level, one at the secretarial level, and one to fill a fiscal position, for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this section. The director in implementing the system shall consult, cooperate, and coordinate with local law enforcement agencies.
(6) REGIONAL SYSTEMS.--Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit or discourage the formation of multijurisdictional or regional systems; and any system established pursuant to this section may include the jurisdiction, or any portion thereof, of more than one public agency.
(7) TELEPHONE INDUSTRY COORDINATION.--The office shall coordinate with the Florida Public Service Commission which shall encourage the Florida telephone industry to activate facility modification plans for a timely "911" implementation.
(8) COIN TELEPHONES.--The Florida Public Service Commission shall establish rules to be followed by the telephone utilities in this state designed toward encouraging the provision of coin-free dialing of "911" calls wherever economically practicable and in the public interest.
(9) SYSTEM APPROVAL.--No emergency telephone number "911" system shall be established and no present system shall be expanded without prior approval of the office.
(10) COMPLIANCE.--All public agencies shall assist the office in their efforts to carry out the intent of this section, and such agencies shall comply with the developed plan.
(11) EXISTING EMERGENCY TELEPHONE SERVICE.--Any emergency telephone number established by any local government or state agency prior to July 1, 1974, using a number other than "911" shall be changed to "911" on the same implementation schedule provided in paragraph (4)(e).
(12) FEDERAL ASSISTANCE.--The secretary of the office or his or her designee may apply for and accept federal funding assistance in the development and implementation of a statewide emergency telephone number "911" system.
(13) "911" FEE.--
(a) Following approval by referendum as set forth in paragraph (b), or following approval by a majority vote of its board of county commissioners, a county may impose a "911" fee to be paid by the local exchange subscribers within its boundaries served by the "911" service. Proceeds from the "911" fee shall be used only for "911" expenditures as set forth in subparagraph 6. The manner of imposing and collecting said payment shall be as follows:
1. At the request of the county subscribing to "911" service, the telephone company shall, insofar as is practicable, bill the "911" fee to the local exchange subscribers served by the "911" service, on an individual access line basis, at a rate not to exceed 50 cents per month per line (up to a maximum of 25 access lines per account bill rendered). However, the fee may not be assessed on any pay telephone in this state. A county collecting the fee for the first time may collect the fee for no longer than 36 months without initiating the acquisition of its "911" equipment.
2. Fees collected by the telephone company pursuant to subparagraph 1. shall be returned to the county, less the costs of administration retained pursuant to paragraph (c). The county shall provide a minimum of 90 days' written notice to the telephone company prior to the collection of any "911" fees.
3. Any county that currently has an operational "911" system or that is actively pursuing the implementation of a "911" system shall establish a fund to be used exclusively for receipt and expenditure of "911" fee revenues collected pursuant to this section. All fees placed in said fund, and any interest accrued thereupon, shall be used solely for "911" costs described in subparagraph 6. The money collected and interest earned in this fund shall be appropriated for "911" purposes by the county commissioners and incorporated into the annual county budget. Such fund shall be included within the financial audit performed in accordance with s. 218.39. A report of the audit shall be forwarded to the office within 60 days of its completion. A county may carry forward on an annual basis unspent moneys in the fund for expenditures allowed by this section, or it may reduce its fee. However, in no event shall a county carry forward more than 10 percent of the "911" fee billed for the prior year. The amount of moneys carried forward each year may be accumulated in order to allow for capital improvements described in this subsection. The carryover shall be documented by resolution of the board of county commissioners expressing the purpose of the carryover or by an adopted capital improvement program identifying projected expansion or replacement expenditures for "911" equipment and service features, or both. In no event shall the "911" fee carryover surplus moneys be used for any purpose other than for the "911" equipment, service features, and installation charges authorized in subparagraph 6. Nothing in this section shall prohibit a county from using other sources of revenue for improvements, replacements, or expansions of its "911" system. A county may increase its fee for purposes authorized in this section. However, in no case shall the fee exceed 50 cents per month per line. All current "911" fees shall be reported to the office within 30 days of the start
of each county's fiscal period. Any fee adjustment made by a county shall be reported to the office. A county shall give the telephone company a 90-day written notice of such fee adjustment.
4. The telephone company shall have no obligation to take any legal action to enforce collection of the "911" fee. The telephone company shall provide quarterly to the county a list of the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any and all subscribers who have identified to the telephone company their refusal to pay the "911" fee.
5. The county subscribing to "911" service shall remain liable to the telephone company for any "911" service, equipment, operation, or maintenance charge owed by the county to the telephone company.
As used in this paragraph, "telephone company" means an exchange telephone service provider of "911" service or equipment to any county within its certificated area.
6. It is the intent of the Legislature that the "911" fee authorized by this section to be imposed by counties will not necessarily provide the total funding required for establishing or providing the "911" service. For purposes of this section, "911" service includes the functions of database management, call taking, location verification, and call transfer. The following costs directly attributable to the establishment and/or provision of "911" service are eligible for expenditure of moneys derived from imposition of the "911" fee authorized by this section: the acquisition, implementation, and maintenance of Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) equipment and "911" service features, as defined in the Florida Public Service Commission's lawfully approved "911" and related tariffs and/or the acquisition, installation, and maintenance of other "911" equipment, including call answering equipment, call transfer equipment, ANI controllers, ALI controllers, ANI displays, ALI displays, station instruments, "911" telecommunications systems, teleprinters, logging recorders, instant playback recorders, telephone devices for the deaf (TDD) used in the "911" system, PSAP backup power systems, consoles, automatic call distributors, and interfaces (hardware and software) for computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems; salary and associated expenses for "911" call takers for that portion of their time spent taking and transferring "911" calls; salary and associated expenses for a county to employ a full-time equivalent "911" coordinator position and a full-time equivalent staff assistant position per county for the portion of their time spent administrating the "911" system; training costs for PSAP call takers in the proper methods and techniques used in taking and transferring "911" calls; expenses required to develop and maintain all information (ALI and ANI databases and other information source repositories) necessary to properly inform call takers as to location address, type of emergency, and other
information directly relevant to the "911" call-taking and transferring function; and, in a county defined in s. 125.011(1), such expenses related to a nonemergency "311" system, or similar nonemergency system, which improves the overall efficiency of an existing "911" system or reduces "911" emergency response time for a 2-year pilot project that ends June 30, 2003. However, no wireless telephone service provider shall be required to participate in this pilot project or to otherwise implement a nonemergency "311" system or similar nonemergency system. The "911" fee revenues shall not be used to pay for any item not listed, including, but not limited to, any capital or operational costs for emergency responses which occur after the call transfer to the responding public safety entity and the costs for constructing buildings, leasing buildings, maintaining buildings, or renovating buildings, except for those building modifications necessary to maintain the security and environmental integrity of the PSAP and "911" equipment rooms.
7. It is the goal of the Legislature that enhanced "911" service be available throughout the state. Expenditure by counties of the "911" fees authorized by this section should support this goal to the greatest extent feasible within the context of local service needs and fiscal capability. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit two or more counties from establishing a combined emergency "911" telephone service by interlocal agreement and utilizing the "911" fees authorized by this section for such combined "911" service.
(b) If a county elects to obtain approval of a "911" fee by referendum, it shall arrange to place a question on the ballot at the next regular or special election to be held within the county, substantially as follows:
_____ I am in favor of the "911" emergency telephone system fee.
_____ I am against the "911" emergency telephone system fee.
If a majority of the electors voting on the question approve the fee, it may be imposed by the county.
(c) Any county imposing a "911" fee in accordance with the provisions of this subsection shall allow the telephone company to retain as an administrative fee an amount equal to 1 percent of the total "911" fee collected by the telephone company.
(14) INDEMNIFICATION AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY.--All local governments are authorized to undertake to indemnify the telephone company against liability in accordance with the telephone company's lawfully filed tariffs. Regardless of any indemnification agreement, a telephone company or commercial mobile radio service provider as defined in s. 364.02 shall not be liable for damages resulting from or in connection with "911" service or identification of the telephone number, address, or name associated with any person accessing "911" service, unless the telephone company or commercial radio service provider acted with malicious purpose or in a manner exhibiting wanton and willful disregard of human rights, safety, or property in providing such services.
(15) CONFIDENTIALITY OF RECORDS.--Any record, recording, or information, or portions thereof, obtained by a public agency or a public safety agency for the purpose of providing services in an emergency and which reveals the name, address, telephone number, or personal information about, or information which may identify any person requesting emergency service or reporting an emergency by accessing an emergency telephone number "911" system is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution, except that such record or information may be disclosed to a public safety agency. The exemption applies only to the name, address, telephone number or personal information about, or information which may identify any person requesting emergency services or reporting an emergency while such information is in the custody of the public agency or public safety agency providing emergency services. A telephone company or commercial mobile radio service provider shall not be liable for damages to any person resulting from or in connection with such telephone company's or commercial mobile radio service provider's provision of any lawful assistance to any investigative or law enforcement officer of the State of Florida or political subdivisions thereof, of the United States, or of any other state or political subdivision thereof, in connection with any lawful investigation or other law enforcement activity by such law enforcement officer unless the telephone company or commercial mobile radio service provider acted in a wanton and willful manner.
(16) FALSE "911" CALLS.--Whoever accesses the number "911" for the purpose of making a false alarm or complaint or reporting false information which could result in the emergency response of any public safety agency is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.--ss. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, ch. 74-357; s. 3, ch. 76-168; ss. 1, 2, ch. 76-272; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 3, 4, ch. 80-275; s. 38, ch. 83-334; ss. 1, 2, ch. 85-317; s. 24, ch. 87-225; s. 1, ch. 87-259; s. 1, ch. 88-231; s. 1, ch. 89-264; s. 3, ch. 90-305; s. 110, ch. 90-360; s. 1, ch. 91-100; s. 297, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326; s. 1, ch. 93-171; s. 1, ch. 96-229; s. 168, ch. 96-406; s. 1, ch. 98-276; s. 97, ch. 98-279; s. 50, ch. 99-399; s. 10, ch. 2000-334; s. 1, ch. 2001-71; s. 1, ch. 2001-133; s. 106, ch. 2001-266.